Is age overrated?

old-woman-574278_640Jeremiah 16:19: O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. (ESV)

We are supposed to respect our elders, and even stand up to allow them to sit (Leviticus 19:32). When writing to Timothy, Paul said he should treat the older ones as fathers, with all respect (1Timothy 5:1). However, old age does not equal to wisdom. That was what Elihu in the book of Job found out (Job 32:1-12).

After listening to three friends of Job talk to him for a long time, and they were not able to do justice to the issue at hands, he said that he thought that old age should mean wisdom, but realised that is not necessarily the case.

He concluded that there is a spirit in man and that it is the inspiration of the almighty gives him understanding.

It’s clear that it is not about how long you have spent on earth, what you have seen, it is about the operation of the Holy Spirit in your life, how yielded you have been over time to him. Age is overrated.

The bible says that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but time can chance happened to all men (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Being old does not give you the exclusive access to wisdom. Actually the bible says that out of the mouth of babes and suckling God has ordained strength (Psalm 8:1-2). And he chooses the foolish thing to confound the wise (1Corinthians 1:27). Do not allow anyone to hoodwink you because of his age.

Jesus was not an old man but was possessed by the Holy Spirit and God said from heaven that we should listen to him (Matthew 17:5).

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of counsel, might, knowledge, understanding, who confers on people sound judgement, which he also conferred on Jesus (Isaiah 11:1-5). The bible says that he will not judge by the hearing of the ears but will judge righteous judgement.

Sound judgement does not come just because of your experiences. Being old may actually mean you are more bitter or mischievous than the average man or woman.

The experience of a young prophet in the bible aptly illustrates this. He was sent by God to prophesy to the king of Israel, against the worship of idols going on there (1Kings 13).

When an older prophet came to see him after he had delivered his message, he convinced him against following through with what earlier instruction that God gave him, lying that God has given him another instruction for him. The younger prophet was, as a result, killed by a lion.

The old man was an expert in manipulation. He did not shirk from manipulating others in the name of God, abusing the trust with which people view him because of his experience or age. So if you think old age means wisdom then you may be opened to deception, and have your initiative paralysed.

What did you think happened in the Garden of Eden? The serpent showed himself in the garden as having much more knowledge about things than Eve, and that was a trap she fell into, swallowing what he said hook, line and sinker (Genesis 3).

Aaron and Mariam were older than Moses and they presumed to criticise Moses about a decision he made (Numbers 12). They were mistaken, but what if you were there and it is your idea that the older is always right, then you will have followed them in their error and possibly also in the judgment they faced.

When Jesus called Paul into the ministry he said that he did not immediately confer with flesh and blood nor did he go to those who were apostles before him (Galatians 1-2). He said that what he taught, he knew by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation trumps age. A psalmist says that he has more understanding than his teachers because he meditates on God’s law (Psalm 119:22). So passion for God also trumps age.

Showing the level of independence of thought that he had he confronted Peter, a foremost apostle, to his face, when he made theological misstep. He was not cowed by Peter’s clout. His commitment was to Jesus and what he has called him to do. He did not say because Peter saw Jesus in the flesh, therefore, whatever he says or does is right. He noticed he was inconsistent and spoke publicly about it to help others not to fall into the trap.

Now to the issue of father which was the thrust of the focus verse. From fathers should come identity but because of the corruption of sin, fathers sometimes do not live up to expectation. David wrote if my father and mother forsake me God will pick me up (Psalm 27:10).

When the first fathering arrangement through Adam got messed up, God found another way to father us.

This is how it happens. Father transfers blessing or curses. The blessing on Abraham found expression in his children and the ultimate expression of the blessing was seen in Jesus, and through whom we become children of God and partaker of the blessing (Galatians 3).

But we had a previous father and that was Adam and what we got from him was the rule of sin and death (Romans 5:12-21). But the bible says that the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2). We needed another father to free us from the bondage the first father put us. What one father messed up, another father sorts out, hence the need for another Adam- Jesus (1Corinthians 15:45). Remember Jesus was called everlasting father (Isaiah 9:6).

The choices made by fathers can affect children positively or negatively. Adam was son of God (Luke 3:38), he came from him as God breathed his breath into man the breath of life and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

But when humanity was messed up because of sin, there was the need for spiritual rebirth for us to gain God as father anew, with God’s Spirit coming into us through Jesus as we bear his presence and identity.

And the Spirit that has been sent to us is the Spirit of adoption and enter into a relationship with God, calling him father (Romans 8:15). Jesus taught us to pray: our father in heaven, hallowed be your name (Matthew 6:9). God is no longer afar off but within us, we get to experience who he is, how he is, we get to become him.

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