Crabtree Acres

by Carolyn Bost Crabtree

There are two young men in the Bible that to me represent the types of heroes that young people and adults alike can choose to admire. One is Daniel and the other Samson. We have heard about these people for most of our lives if we have been in church any at all, but there lives are good example of the positive and negative choices we make.

The book of Daniel tells us that when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, Daniel was one of the young boys, probably from a royal or noble household, who was taken to Shinar to serve in the king's court. Only the best looking, healthiest, most intelligent in every branch of wisdom, and strongest youths were chosen to serve the king. The king ordered that they were to eat the choice food and drink the best wine that the king ate and drank. They were to be educated in the Babylon ways and to be given new names. Their lives were totally changed and turned upside down. Can you imagine being taken to a total different, pagan country, not familiar with the food or language, and becoming a slave to a king that had no understanding or knowledge of God? That is what happened to Daniel. But Daniel had been trained in such a way that he refused to accept the gods of the Babylonians and refused to disobey his God. He was young, but very strong in his faith and in the understanding of what God expected of him. He refused to compromise in the things that really mattered in his life and yet, he became beloved and respected throughout the entire nation of Babylon. God gave him grace among the people because he trusted and obeyed God. God protected him from dangerous situations and gave him victory over his enemies.

Samson was also a young man who was dedicated to God by his parents and was reared to be a savior for Israel while Israel was in the hands of the ungodly Philistines. God told his parents that Samson had a very special task ahead of him and that he was not to have his hair cut, not to drink wine or strong drink and not to eat anything unclean. He was like John the Baptist in the New Testament -- totally dedicated to the Lord. But as Samson became a man, he made choices in his life that were his own desires and forgot about the desires of God. He married an unbelieving woman who was not God's choice for him. He ate things that were unclean; for example, the honey from the body of a dead lion. Eventually he got himself mixed up with an immoral woman named Delilah who was hired to trick Samson into telling what the secret of his strength was. The secret of his strength was the fact that he was dedicated to the Lord, but Samson was beginning to treat his commitment lightly and abuse his relationship with God. The secret was not in his long hair, as we sometimes believe, but his obedience to God. His uncut hair was just a sign of his vow to the Lord. When his hair was cut, his vow was totally broken; he had let himself become weak in his faith before the hair was cut. Samson eventually was killed with the Philistines that he destroyed; he accomplished God's goal, but probably not the way God would have chosen for it to happen.

We all have choices that we make in our lives to do things God's way and be blessed or to do things our own way and suffer for it. Young people sometimes think that they have no choices but to compromise and give in to do things the way the world does them. I admit that if you try to be different and choose God's best, you may not be as popular and you may be ridiculed. Yet, you will be blessed beyond belief if you choose God's way and follow Him. You will never look back on your life with regret and have to live with consequences that make your life less than you would want it to be. I would encourage us all to choose the very best that life has to give and that can only come by choosing God's joyous best.