Absalom, son of David, king of Israel, had become an insurrectionist and was actually fighting against the armies of his father. David had commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, leaders of his forces to "deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." Later, the story reveals that a messenger comes to king David from the battlefield. He is asked by a concerned father, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Eventually, David learns of the death of his son and cries aloud, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom. Would I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (II Samuel 13:28-33). Today, we might ask the question, as did David, СIs the young man safe?Т
Youth must, first of all, answer that question. Man is a being of choice. Many of our youth are in trouble simply because they decided to be. Absalom was basically a selfish person. He felt that the world owned him something and he was out to collect. Such an attitude causes unhappiness. Jesus taught that true happiness comes from serving others. He declared, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Paul exclaimed that he was a "debtor" to all men because he possessed the knowledge of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:14). In matters of morality, the final decision has to be made by the individual. A personТs decisions determine the direction in life one will travel and eventually his/her eternal destiny. One should seek strength and guidance from God in deciding what is right and wrong (II Timothy 3:16,17; Philippians 4:13).
Second, oneТs associates contribute to the answer of the question, СIs the young man safe?" In II Samuel 15:1-6, it is stated that Absalom stole the hearts (affections) of his fellowmen by offering them something that he could not give them. Friends exert a tremendous amount of influence upon a young person. "Evil companionship corrupts good morals" is just as true today as when Paul wrote the statement in I Corinthians 15:33. Social pressure by oneТs peers often encourages wrongdoing. Youth must be especially careful in choosing bosom buddies. Even older people should make every effort to set the proper example before our youth. Often, by ungodly living, adults encourage adolescents to go astray.
Third, parents are more directly responsible than others for the spiritual safety of their sons and daughters. David made a journey to the far country of sin in the case of Uriah the Hittite and his wife, Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12:15). David was truly penitent of his sins as is clearly taught in Psalms 51. However, there is no absolute way to measure the negative influence such sins had in the lives of his children, especially Absalom. Parents need to realize that their children look to them for guidance and example in matters pertaining to godly living. And yet, there are parents who sin in every conceivable manner and then wonder later in life how they went wrong in rearing their children. Many parents fail in providing spiritual training for their offsprings in spite of the LordТs instructions to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Delinquent parents contribute greatly to the downfall of youth and probably more so than any other source of influence in our society. СIs the young man safe?Т Consider seriously the question, "Am I encouraging our young men and women to live right?"