Before I leave this book and change to another topic, I would like to look at one more chapter Dr. Havner called, “God’s ‘Inevitable Progress'”. If you are a parent or grandparent of boys, or have any role in the life of a boy, the following information will be very important as we hear Dr. Havner speak from the past—telling us what it means to raise boys.
Dr. Havner begins, “For some years before the bottom fell out of civilization we heard much about the inevitability of progress….With the wiseacres now looking for a hole in the ground in which to escape from their own inventions, it is very evident that if we are progressing it is in reverse. Instead of creating a millennium we have contrived a madhouse. But there is one kind of progress that is sure. The eternal purpose of God moves on. God’s program is running on schedule.” (p. 67)
(side note: Have you heard that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife plan to build a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter on their Hawaii ranch with its own energy and food supplies? Think of that, and remember Dr. Havner’s book was last updated in 1969 when he wrote “With the wiseacres now looking for a hole in the ground in which to escape from their own inventions”.)
Dr. Havner then says, “Let us consider three ways in which the growth of God’s purpose is revealed”:
- The God-Man grew on.
- God’s men grow on.
- God’s message grows on. (p. 67)
We’ll look at each one individually to understand what he meant.
- “The God-Man grew on.” Over two thousand years ago, God solved a problem for us. How could ungodly men be made right with a just God? What could be done about sin? He sent His Son to take on the sin of the world. Satan begin to work through evil men to destroy Him immediately. First came King Herod. He had all baby boys two-years-old and under killed, to get to Jesus. But Joseph and Mary were warned and fled to Egypt where they stayed until an angel let them know that Herod was dead. Dr. Havner says, “They always die who run against the purposes of God!” (p.68) Then Dr. Havner quotes from the book of Luke: “‘And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him; and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’ The God-Man grew on and grew up, died and rose again, and accomplished our redemption….Little did proud Rome know, little did cultured Greece imagine, little did religious Israel suspect, little did poor Nazareth dream, that in that little village, working at a carpenter’s bench, was the Son of God and Son of man.” (p.68)
- “God’s men grow on.” Remember Samuel? Prayed for by his mother, Hannah? Given to Eli the priest to serve in the temple during another evil time in history? Dr.Havner says, “But amidst all the sin and shame, the impurity and the infidelity, we read, ‘And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and also with men,’ reminding us of the similar verse about the child Jesus. God had His eye on that boy, for His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, waiting to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him….God called and Samuel answered, and we read after that, ‘And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.’…God’s man Samuel grew on.” (p.69) Then there came another evil day in the New Testament. “For years there had been no prophet in Israel, and the fire of the Spirit had died low. God’s people lived under a heathen power and religion and had sunk into dead formalism.” (p.69) And then a forerunner of the “God-Man Himself” was sent. “We read of John the Baptist that ‘The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.’ God’s man John the Baptist grew on!…There has never been a time so dark and dismal and desolate but somewhere God had a boy growing on.”(p.69) Think of: Martin Luther, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight L. Moody, Evan Roberts.
“No man or woman ever had a nobler challenge or a higher privilege than to bring up a child for God, and whenever we slight that privilege or neglect that ministry for anything else, we live to mourn it in heartache and grief.” (p.70)
3. “God’s message grows on.” Another King Herod tried to stop God’s message in the early church by killing James and putting Peter in prison. “‘the angel of the Lord smote him… and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost,’….‘But the word of God grew and multiplied.’” (p.71) “…one thing stands eternally certain: the purpose of God will prevail.” (p.72) “God’s Word never said the world would be converted but that perilous, not prosperous, times shall come in the last days, that evil men will wax worse and worse, that because lawlessness shall abound, the love of most will wax cold. And it declares that just as the God-Man Christ Jesus came on time when first He came in grace, so He will come on time when He comes again in glory.” (p.73) Dr. Havner warns us—”Just because God’s plan and purpose are sure to win does not mean that you are to sit idly by and watch it win. God works His plan by working His people.” (p.73)
Dr. Havner relates that when he was preaching he would look over the congregation at all the young boys and wonder if he was actually seeing a Samuel, John the Baptist, or the little boy with the loaves and fishes. He informed preachers, “Never take your congregation lightly, though it be small and unimpressive; one of God’s men may be growing up in it.” (p.70)
And, never take the role that you share in raising the next generation of boys lightly. You want to raise all children for God, but could that one boy be the next Billy Graham, or Vance Havner, or Samuel? I think we should be raising all boys
—to be that one.