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Remember Your Creator

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God and make personal application. The title for the lesson, “Remember your Creator.” And the text, the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 verses one through seven. Listen to the Word of God.

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say: I find no pleasure in them. Before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark and the clouds return after the rain, when the keepers of the house tremble and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease, because they are few and those looking through the windows grow dim, when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades, when the men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint, when men are afraid of heights and dangers in the streets, when the almond tree blossoms and the grass hopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him before the silver cord is severed or the golden bowl is broken, before the pitcher is shattered at the spring or the wheel broken at the well and the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”   May the Lord add his blessing to the reading of his Word.

The book of Ecclesiastes, of course, is written in poetic terms. We all live under the sun. God is above the sun and death means we eventually go beyond the sun. It is instructive for all of us, as we age, to consider our lives under a setting sun and share these truths with others, to consider not just our current physical or economic lives, but also our spiritual lives, which are eternal.

  1. Oswald Sanders wrote these words: “It is attitude, not arteries that determines the vitality of our maturing years.” So what is our attitude concerning aging, even old age? Our aging may not be our golden years, but it need not be our ghastly year. The blind poet and hymnist, George Matheson, wrote these words—and I quote: The cure for aging is interest, enthusiasm and work. Life’s evening will take its character from the day which has preceded it, end of quote. Great advice to act on for each of us.

Pearl Buck was the daughter of missionaries in China who became an acclaimed writer and wrote at the age of 84, “I have learned so much since I was 70.” Is that true of some of us? And even Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher of another time wrote: “The time of old age with all of its infirmities seems to me to be a time of peculiar blessedness and privilege to the Christian.” Is that our mindset? Is that our experience? Of course, as we age we experience and better understand our mortality. Someone else has written that the first half of our lives we are romantic, but the last half of our lives we are rheumatic, that is as in rheumatism, regarding painful joints and muscles.

But let’s consider what a wiser, older Solomon wrote and possibly see ourselves and be the wiser for it and share these principles and precepts with others. In Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse one it says in part to remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come. That is, acknowledge God early rather than later in our lives, paying attention, accepting God in our younger years is always better than our later older years as we have longer to develop and mature our relationship with God. Of course, we may not live to older years, so we need to share this with youthful ones. Jesus himself said in Matthew chapter six and verse 33 that we must seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, which amounts to the same principle as Solomon, the earlier, the younger, the better to receive God today in Christ Jesus, to accept him into our lives that God can be the center of our lives.

It is common for youth to be so caught up with vim and vigor and enjoyments that they neglect God. However, a good, spiritual foundation in youth will serve us well as we age. We need to start serving our creator God early on, not wait to older years when our service could be limited due to physical or mental handicaps.

Someone once wisely observed, “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical, but the strength and beauty of age to be spiritual.” We gradually lose the strength and beauty of youth, as it is temporary in our current bodies, so that we will learn to appreciate the strength and beauty which is forever. So remember your creator when? Before the days of trouble come, which can include disease, distress and death. But our attitude needs to be to strive to make the best of every day, of each day to the glory of God.

Someone has wisely penned that the seven decades of life spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills and wills. And, of course, thrills are much better than wills.

Chapter 12 in Ecclesiastes verses two through seven, poetically and symbolically describe our process of aging and death. In verse two it says in part before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, which could refer to failing eyesight or, as light representing youth and dark, old age, as in dawn versus the dusk of life. Or, if tied to the clouds that return after the rain, we have here the whole process of aging from sun and light to darkness and clouds, a gathering storm as our lives ebb away. But as believers, our attitude should not be doom and gloom. But as the Christian poet Robert Browning wrote, “Grow old with me. The best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first was made. Our times are in his hands. Who saith a hole I planned? You show but half. Trust God. See all, nor be afraid.”

In Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse three it says when keepers of the house tremble. Yes, creeping age sometimes gives us the shakes. It also says and the strong men stoop. Yes, sometimes we no longer can stand up straight. Our backs are bent. Our legs weak. And also Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse three refers to when the grinders cease, because they are few. Well what are the grinders here? Well how about teeth? Molars? Sometimes the dentist takes them out, but sometimes our teeth, our grinders fall out on their own. The point is they usually do become fewer and fewer.

And then in verse four it says when the doors to the street are closed, because the aged have less in and out. And then the sound of grinding fades. Here grinding and the sound of grinding probably refers to the grinding mill that fades because of hearing, poor hearing, because our ears are failing also. And possibly because eating and appetite is also fading and, therefore, there is less grinding of the meal to eat and, of course, we don’t have to use our grinders as much when we eat less, if we even have them.

And then men rise up at the sounds of birds, possibly because we become, as we age, more easily startled or endure sleeplessness. In verse five men are afraid of heights due to falling, due to accidents, being unsteady on our legs, on our feet. And then verse five also refers to dangers in the streets, because travel has all kinds of dangers, especially for the aged.

Verse five also says when the almond tree blossoms. And what color are almond blossoms? White? As in hair, if we have any hair left. And the grasshopper drags himself, no longer able to jump. Desire no longer is stirred is probably a reference to the lack of romantic interests.

And then in verse six it says remember him. Well, who? Well, our creator God. Remember him before the silver cord is severed or the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher shattered, the wheel broken, all here images of death. The silver cord probably connected to a golden bowl which held olive oil for light. The cord snaps, the bowl smashes, the light goes out, poetic language, symbolic representative language of coming death.

Do you perhaps remember the hymn titled, “Some Day the Silver Cord will Break”? The lyrics were written by Fanny Crosby. These words are taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse six, and yet Fanny Crosby’s hymn is not negative. It is not a gloomy hymn. Consider, for example, the first stanza of her hymn, “Some day the silver cord will break, and I no more as now shall sing. But, oh, the joy when I shall wake within the palace of the King. And I shall see him face to face and tell the story saved by grace.”

You see, this was especially meaningful to Fanny Crosby, because at about six weeks old she was blinded by the mistake of a doctor who put the wrong poultice on her eyes and was blind for the rest of her life, not able to see. But she was looking forward to the day when she shall see him, the Lord, face to face. And so we look forward to that day.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse seven it says when the spirit returns to God who gave it. Because death is not the end, it is the beginning of the best.

Someone has written that the same grace which teaches us how to live will also teach us how to die. So true. So wise. And we can share these truths with others. Scripture is honest about death, but not bitter about death. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 116 and verse 15—well known words especially at funerals, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Then we will be with the Lord forever more. Now is the time to prepare for eternity. Whatever our age, our duty is to tell others: Remember your creator. Remember our creator. And today we must receive and revere Jesus Christ our creator and to continue to be conformed to his image, his character until he calls us home, because this is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. Our citizenship is there. And not only the place, but the person that we long to see even Jesus, even God, when our eyes are glorified also and we can see God and enjoy eternity with him.

Share these things with others.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33