For the past several weeks we've looked at a Theology of Aging. Last week we looked at Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 and saw how God described in some creative detail how the aging process worked - and how all of us would be affected by it. We dealt with every verse except verse 1 of that section. That is what I plan to do this week.
"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them"; Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NASB)
Last week's journey through Ecclesiastes 12 could have been a very depressing one unless you took time to look at this first verse. It is a depressing journey for those who have only this life as their focus. Those who only have life on earth to treasure will find, as we found last week, that their treasure is deteriorating and fading fast as they age. The very aging process is supposed to turn our eyes away from living for the things of this earth - and to live instead for the things of God. But these this view of life needs to be embraced in one's youth.
The call here is to REMEMBER. The word used here is zakar, which means more than just to remember something briefly. It means to call it into your memory for the purpose of thinking about it, meditating on it, and hopefully learning from it as well. We are called to remember our Creator. This is interesting - because it immediately militates against naturalism which says that there is NO creator. Those who embrace naturalism ONLY have this life to live. Their view is that once we die - we just die. Our life actually has no meaning - we were a cosmic accident, coming together through random processes in some form of evolutionary development. Thus, when it is over - it truly is OVER! There is no hope - because we go into the ground and are destined to be little more than worm dirt for the plants to derive nutrients as we decay in the ground. For those who thought Ecclesiastes 12 was depressing - try on a naturalist worldview and see how depressing that is!
What exactly are we supposed to "remember" as we think and consider our Creator? From what Solomon says in chapter 11:9-10. "Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting." Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 (NASB) We are to REMEMBER that God is not only our Creator, but also the One who will render judgment upon the choices we made in life. It is evident from what Solomon says here that living for the "impulses of our heart" as well as the "desires of our eyes" is not a wise choice. In the end these things will be judged by God as unworthy pursuits. Living for pleasure alone is a waste of a life given by God. Ever since the Fall of man into sin - sin has corrupted our desires and how we view things with our eyes. To follow them would be exceedingly foolish. So as we remember our Creator - part of that remembrace and meditation on Who He is involves us remembering our sinfulness and our propensity to be selfish and self-centered.
Taking these revelations and applying them to our passage, we see that a selfishly lived life will not last. In fact we see from Ecclesiastes 12:1 that in the end - in our latter years - we will have no delight in life. We will find life miserable. Ever hear an older man express regret over his life? I've heard many who have lived for selfish ends - and they have great regret. It all seems so . . . so meaningless at the end. It is as if we were made for something so much more. That is exactly why Solomon wrote this book. God wanted to show us that no matter how rich you are - how much power you have - how many relationships you have - it all turns sour and empty when you see aging and death creep nearer. That is why YOUTH are encouraged to remember and meditate on their Creator. That way they can remember to live for God - for His purposes and plans. They are reminded to be careful about their own desires and the things that tantalize their eyes and lusts. These things can be deadly - and they are definitely deadly when lived for over an entire lifetime. That is why God had Solomon write such a depressing view of aging.
God warns throughout His Word that we are going to age - and that ultimately - we are going to die. He has revealed these things - not to depress us. He has revealed them to us so that we will learn from them. We need to learn that life is limited. We need to learn that life is short. We need to learn that there is a purpose for us - a plan on how we should live and for Whom we should live as well. When we remember our Creator and remember these things, we will be blessed. Ignore them . . . and as our lives come to a close we will find ourselves saying exactly what God said - that we no longer find any delight in them. Remember your Creator God - remember His ways and delight in His will - for in delighting in Him you will find life itself a delight as well. And death, which so many dread and fear will be no longer a fearful, terrifying moment - but rather one where we graduate from the pains and suffering of this life - to awake in His presence, experiencing pleasures forever at His right hand!