It’s that time of year again.
Schools beckon for occupancy. The hinges are oiled, the desks polished, the floors waxed. Yes, it all sounds only too familiar. The opening day of school even has its own smell.
Mental cobwebs have to be brushed away. Those brawny muscles toned by hard work can relax and now push a pencil, and that for some six hours a day. The fluorescent lights won’t be able to condition that beautiful tan; that too will fade.
Ah, yes, it’s back to school. And quite a change.
With mixed emotions you reach for your alarm on that fateful day. School—the kids, teachers, books, assignments, games, yes, it’s all there—some anticipation, some dread!
But is it necessary? True, it’s required by law—educated citizenry and all that. But, why must I go to school? Why should I want to go to school? Why should I make something of going to school?
That is a different story. It spells the difference between going to school and being a student!
God provides the needed incentive. Consider the timely words of Solomon, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1.
Going to school is a matter of sanctification!
We are to reckon that if we walk in the ways of our evil flesh, it will bring us into judgment. To avoid this we are rather to remember our Creator and thereby when the evil days come we will say, I have no pleasure in them.
The central thought here is—Our Creator! He makes all the difference.
Purposefully, the Holy Spirit made this reference to God this way. Solomon does not say, remember thy God, or remember thy Savior, but rather remember thy Creator. We are to remember God as our Creator.
And what is so special about this?
This is the first principle of all instruction. Take God as Creator out of the picture and you have nothing but a lie. Does not God Himself make this point in the very first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning Godcreated!”
The schools of the world, and even, sad to say, some so-called Christian schools cast this truth aside. In the former, they openly mock the idea of God’s creating; in the latter some of them cleverly conceal their acceptance of evolution by simply adding that God watched the entire process which took billions of years to develop. The end result however is the same: God is not the Creator! And if He is not the Creator, He is not the God Who is Sovereign over all events in history, and you end up with the devastating lie that God would like to save people in Christ His Son, but it is ultimately up to man whether he wants to be saved. A compromised Creator leads to a possible Savior.
To abide by this exhortation of Scripture, we establish our own schools so that this truth may be taught daily without compromise. We must see our Creator; Mightily, He formed the chaos and called the creation into being. In six days of 24 hours, limited by evening and morning, God finished His creative work and rested on the seventh.
This creation tells us something about God! Who cannot be struck by the great power of this creation? Mind you, the things that were not become the things they are by His voice. He spoke and it was done. How great our God is. We can even see this in the creation that groans to be delivered. How beautiful creation is and our God made this simply by speaking.
Still more, the creation tells us that God has a purpose with all things. All His work of creating ended in the seventh day of rest. We can see this by faith now, when we remember that even that rest was a picture of an eternal rest that remaineth for us. As the seventh day depicts God’s purpose, so today that purpose still influences us. Why are we here; what is our goal in life; what must be our attitude toward God and society? The answers to all of these questions come to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our purpose is to rest in Him, believe in His finished work, flee from evil and do good as we delight in His work. We are to further His cause and kingdom with an eye directed to heaven. Our Creator makes this plain to us.
Finally, we put power and purpose together and we have the beautiful, reformed truth of God’s sovereignty. The purpose is accomplished by His power and nothing can withstand it. God wills the salvation of His people in Christ and everything serves that glorious end.
We have a great God. He is our Creator.
REMEMBER THY CREATOR
He is to be remembered.
It’s significant that Solomon assumes that you know about Him. You don’t remember something that you didn’t know already. We know our Creator. What is important is that we must remember Him.
To remember means to recall. We have many things in our minds that are there, but unless we are able to recall them before our consciousness, we really don’t remember them. They are rather forgotten.
The idea here is that Solomon instructs us to remember our Creator in such a way that He lives in our consciousness daily. That which we know about Him we recall and act accordingly. Let me illustrate. ‘We remember Him when we pray. We have been taught about the great power of God and that He sees everything and calls us to be holy in the days of our youth. While we pray we remember Who God is, and this influences us in our prayer. The same is true when we evaluate our faith. What do we believe about God, His Word, ourselves, the world and all that it contains? We remember God as revealed to us in His Word, and this governs our faith-life. We know God has given us the Bible by the wonder of inspiration. The Bible is His directive for the whole of our personal lives, not only, but also explains His purpose for the nations of the world and His church which is gathered from them. Finally, this also applies to our daily activities. Our work, our future calling in life, our recreation, our sports, our fun activity. We remember our Creator and His memory governs us in our behavior; we do not want to sin against Him, rather we desire to be faithful in doing all things to His glory.
Going to school teaches us this wonderful remembrance. Our Christian covenant teachers help us see these truths and live before so great a God. Hence Solomon says, Put away evil from thy flesh for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
DAYS OF THY YOUTH
Probably we should say a word about the emphasis he places upon the time of life when this should be done: days of thy youth. These days are further defined as follows: “while the evil days come not nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
Solomon speaks of “evil days” in a two fold sense.
First, they are connected with the preceding context, “Put away evil from thy flesh . . . remember thy Creator . . . while the evil days come not.” In this sense the evil days refer to impending corruption, from a moral point of view. Solomon was aware that such days lay ahead for Israel. We are aware that such days lie ahead of us in the future, with the coming of the antichrist and his kingdom. The importance of remembering our creator is that it will help us say when the evil days come, “I have no pleasure in them.”
The spiritual implications of this are great. As covenant youth you must study hard and put forth all effort so that you are able to appreciate what your Creator has done and is doing and reject any attack upon His work. The future will bring about apostasy in the churches; public sin will be extolled; men will call evil, good; they will persecute the faithful church and thereby think they do God a service. All this is plainly part of the evil day. The effect this will have upon us as people of God is two-fold. We will be sorely tempted to go along with the fun and games. It will offer great sport and pleasure. It will attempt to give to mankind the license to sin and not have to be troubled with a guilty conscience. Don’t we like that? But it will also bring about a terrible persecution for the faithful children of God who resist these temptations and stand faithful even unto death. We read a great deal about torture in the news media today. Just imagine if we have to bear these things because of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!
It takes a great spiritual strength to be ‘able to say, “I have no pleasure in these evil days.” Only remembering our Creator will give us such spiritual faithfulness.
There is another way of looking at the evil days. Those days would then refer to old age in which all men say, I have no pleasure in them. This receives the emphasis in the verses following. There Solomon describes all the effects of old age upon us. The family unit breaks up by the presence of death, verse 2. The body breaks down, verses 3-6. Finally death claims us and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it, verse 7. From this point of view, it is important to remember our Creator in the days of youth because such remembrance prepares us for our purpose in life not only, but also for death.
The time to learn is during youth. At such a time God has given the gifts of memory and spiritual aptitude to receive it as at no other time, in life. It’s amazing how children and youth learn.
Through such learning, youth is guided by God in all his way and such things learned remain even until old age. It is always striking to me that the things quoted by the dying saint are the things learned in kindergarten and school.
Remembering such a Creator makes dying a little easier.
Yes, it’s back to school.
May I remind you that such precious moments are only in the days of youth. Take advantage of them. Be diligent in your studies, apply yourself in the pursuit of knowledge.
We may have expensive school facilities. We may have parents that labor hard to provide for these means. We may have teachers that graduate from college and diligently put forth effort to teach us the knowledge of God. But if we are not going to be equally diligent in remembering our Creator, it is all vain.
And youth is vanity.
May the Holy Spirit encourage you to be faithful in your studies and enable you to be sanctified in your life.
The praise returns unto our Creator.