Wise King Solomon offers to us some incredibly thought provoking words about really living while we are young and about being sober minded regarding the fact that we will grow old and die. There is much poetic and there is much practical in these 5 verses.
He begins with an exhortation to those who are still in the prime of life - an exhortation to "remember."
"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth."
From the beginning of our days we should remember the One in whom our beginning began!! It is He who made us and not we ourselves (Ps 100) and we were made by Him to live for Him.
Young ones - remember Him while you can and live for Him while you may.
"It is the greatest absurdity and ingratitude imaginable to give the cream and flower of our days to the devil and reserve the bran and refuse and dregs of them for God." (Matthew Henry)
Solomon paints the most incredible portrait of old age that I have ever run across. He honestly and accurately describes what the aging process is like with illustrative language. I am strongly leaning upon the enlightening words of Mr. Henry for these thoughts.
The aged man is as the darkening of the sun, light, moon, and stars (vs 2). His abilities and intellect are slowing down and decreasing. He is like clouds returning after the rain (vs 2). He goes from one infirmity and malady to the next. As soon as one ailment is calmed another one begins to flare.
During old age the watchmen of the house tremble (vs 3). The head and hands that have guarded so much of a man's life begin to shake with the tremors of senior citizenship and can no longer serve as a proper guard. The mighty men stoop (vs 3). The strong legs which carried him from place to place - often running - are now feeble and bent down. The grinding ones stand idle because they are few (vs 3). The teeth stop doing what they were made to do because they are falling out. Those who look through windows grow dim (vs 3). Eyesight fails and fades to black.
As if that weren't enough, Solomon continues. In verse 4 he tells us that the doors on the street are shut. In our old age we find ourselves staying in more and more and venturing out less and less. Our doors are shut because behind them we feel more safe. Furthermore, one will arise at the sound of a bird. Our sleep becomes restless and the slightest things awaken us. The daughters of song will sing softly. While a bird may awaken us from our slumber the songs and sounds we so long to hear will fade as our hearing slips away.
In verse 5 things don't get any better. Men are afraid of high places and of terrors on the road. Due to our ever growing weakness and frailty we are fearful of climbing to the heights and even of strolling on the street. We may stumble. We may fall. It is best to avoid those spots. The almond tree blossoms. The hairs of our head (if they remain) turn white as the blooms of the nut tree. And finally, the grasshopper becomes a burden. Even the slightest things are a drudgery and a heavy weight.
There is nothing pleasant about the aging process. Therefore...
"...remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days draw near when you will say, 'I have no delight in them.'"
May we heed Solomon's admonition knowing that our day is coming. "How can we expect God to help us when we are old, if we will not serve Him when we are young?" (Henry)
We are born, we live young, we grow old, and then we die dead! "For a man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street."
The day of our demise will come. Solomon has always been forthright regarding that fact. What we have remembered in the days of our youth will effect where we go in the days after our death.
"Death will fix us in an unchangeable state. Man shall go to his eternal home." (Henry)
We shall go home but what home are we heading for? What treasures are we storing up in this life that will follow us into death? Where is our eternal home? Who is our father? Is it the Father of light or the father of darkness? We are either living as children of God or children of the devil and that familial condition will determine which home we will spend our eternity in. Therefore, the question is a crucial one.
Dear friends, remember while you can. Remember your Creator and live for Him. In so doing you will die with Him and will find rest - eternal rest. "For a man goes to his eternal home."
For the Christian this should bring great comfort. Who doesn't want to go home to see this Father? Is He your Father?
Beloved, no one comes to this Father but through Christ. Jesus Himself said:
Flee to the way to real remembering. Remember Him and you will never be forgotten.