OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER Andy Hollifield 2-22-18
Psalms 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. (KJV)
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and behold, this also is vanity. (KJV)
Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (KJV)
I began to think about this statement that I have heard several times throughout my years. I also got to thinking this: If it was applicable in my personal life, shouldn’t it be even more applicable in my spiritual life? As I was reading in the bible while writing this, I rediscovered something I already knew. You can read the entire book of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs and you will find a lot of stuff about life that when we get a few years on us we can see clearly. Also, for an interesting study, read about some of the patriarchs of the faith and read their dying statements if you need something encouraging that will help you.
Joshua has always been one of my favorite bible personalities mostly because of his humility. Unless I have missed it, he is one of the few in the bible that rose to prominence that didn’t have a time when he kicked out on God so to speak. Not only did he have humility, but he was also consistent in his life. Consistency in a Christian is not always a common trait although it should be. In the life of Joshua, he was consistent in his walk from the time when he was a young man and had seen the leadership displayed by Moses, both good and bad, all the way until he was on his deathbed and spoke to the nation of Israel. One of the most powerful speeches ever made was the one that Joshua spoke to the Israelites in Joshua chapter 24. He said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” If you read the first 14 verses, he is recounting some of the history of Israel and all that the Lord had done for them. Judging by the speech of Joshua and the unapologetic stand he took for the Lord, it would appear that he had seen enough of the grace of the Lord in his day to help him decide that he was old enough to know better. He knew better than to doubt or sell God short or to get in his way. God had spent Joshua’s lifetime demonstrating his grace to him.
Abraham was another one that was old enough to know better. He had spent time on both sides of God’s will so he had learned that God was always true and faithful. Genesis 25:8 says, “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” From the time that he left Haran all the way to his death, Abraham had seen God do one incredible work after another in his life. Years after the destruction of Sodom and then the birth of Issac and the death of Sarah, to the time he sent his servant to find Issac a bride, Abraham was surely old enough to know better when it comes to whether or not God can do something. He had learned that without question God could. That verse of scripture about when he died said, “in a good old age, an old man, full of years.” I personally think that means more than just old. I think “full of years” probably means that he had a good life, not only monetarily but just a fulfilling life. It had to have been a good life because in Isaiah 41:8 God told Israel, “But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” For God to call you his friend would not just make anyone’s day, it would make your whole life. You would never have anything better said about you than that no matter how long you lived. Being the recipient of the covenant with God, and seeing how he brought it to pass, there was no one old enough to know better than Abraham, the faithfulness of God.
David was another one that saw such deliverance and mercy on so many occasions, that he was old enough to know better than most, that God always keeps his word. When you slay a bear and a lion with your bare hands when you are only a youth, you learn pretty quickly that God is able. Can you imagine what must have been going through his mind as Samuel poured the oil on him and anointed him as king right there in front of his dad and all of his brothers when he was only a boy? One statement was made about David four times in the bible that tells you about the character of David and one time it is said in 1 Samuel 18:14 sums up not only his life but is a guarantee for anyone that is willing to live pleasing to the Lord: “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.” As a matter of fact, throughout his life, the only time you see him that God wasn’t blessing him is the period of time involving Bathsheba until his visit from Nathan the prophet. That was the one time in his life when David had misbehaved more so than any other. By the time of his death, he had seen enough and been through enough and was old enough to know better how to please God than he did even in his younger years.
It is kind of funny, or maybe I should say ironic, that the way we seem to learn the best is when we mess up the worst. I personally have learned better from my mistakes than I ever have from my successes. Now that I have a few years on me, I can look back at some of the things I have done, that seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I am old enough to know better. One example, not even biblically speaking, concerns my physical health. I can remember my dad telling me a lot of times in my life when I would jump out of the back of a truck or off of a loading dock somewhere, “You’re gonna wish you hadn’t done that when you get older.” I always replied something to the effect of, “Ah, I’ll be alright, I’m tough I can take it.” Now forty some years and two knee replacements and a hip replacement later, I am old enough to know better. Hindsight really is 20/20 if you will bother looking to see it and have intelligence enough to learn from your mistakes. Not everything we learn better comes from mistakes though. I learn a little more each day about the goodness of God. I am old enough to know better now, than when I was younger, that all of the things I have read or heard about the grace and mercy and goodness and love of God are true far beyond what I could have ever expected. A lot of things in my life haven’t always played out like I thought they would, but God has proven to be far better than that little eight year old boy would have ever thought possible when he bowed in that altar and got born into the family of God. Looking back I can now truly say; I am old enough to know better! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!