It was a very different time when Solomon lived from the time in which youth lives today.
But the words of Solomon still are appropriate and words of true wisdom: “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”
If in Solomon’s day there were many earthly things to occupy the time and mind of youth, what shall we say of today? In fact from Adam’s day until today there has been a steady increase in the number of earthly things upon which to set one’s affections and an increasingly greater number of ways to seek the flesh. In Paradise life was simple. Compared with our life, the life of Adam was one in which he simply could not commit many of our sins. He had no father and mother whom he could dishonor. Although he could kill, the sin of adultery was immediately after the fall quite impossible in the physical sense of the word. Very limited was he in stealing, for he would have to steal from his wife; and that would be stealing from self. And what was there to steal then? There was no third party yet unto whom he could bear false witness. And though he might covet what Eve had, our life today makes all these sins of Adam look exceedingly tame.
When Cain and Abel grew up as young men, they did not have cars to fly here, there and everywhere all in one night. There were no passion-feeding dance floors for them to frequent till the wee hours of the morning. They did not have their pockets jingling with coin and their billfolds bulging with means to buy them thrills and excitement and riotous living. Means of communication were almost nonexistent. Let me say it, They had to invent their own ways of sinning. Indeed, they were quite adept at this. The natural heart is continually busy inventing new and more devilish ways of rebelling against God. Just read Genesis 65, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was very great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “. . . every . . . only . . . continually . . .” we read. And with that kind of imagination and thought pattern the natural man is very prolific and clever in his inventing of new ways to sin.
Therefore in a comparatively short time the world was ready for a judgment day. Youth did not remember its Creator; and when grown, a generation brought forth seed that knew Him not but instead explored, organized and employed His creation to oppose Him and His Christ. The spirit of the anti-Christ was strong on the earth then already. Added to this is the fact that men lived to be nine hundred years old. A man could pass on to many more generations than his own immediate generation the methods and deceiving pleasures of sin. He could be the idol and hero of many more sinners among the youth of the land than was the case after the flood. One can imagine what an influence upon youth it was not only to see father’s sins but also grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s and great-great-grandfather’s sins as they developed them, polished them, .made them look cute and enticing. And, of course, this holds true not simply of young men but also of young women and the sins of their mothers and grandmothers for generations of the past.
However, there is that which we must not overlook today. True, we do not live to be nine hundred years old today. But we may say without any fear of contradiction that today we fill a life of seventy, eighty years with far more than a nine hundred year man could ever do in that day. And we by our means of preserving the writings of men in books and magazines, by preserving his speech on tape and disk, his actions on film and by bringing these to the attention of today’s youth by radio and television certainly are rushing towards that day when the world will again be ripe for judgment, this time the final judgment.
Youth, remember that your Creator is coming in such a judgment! Last time we quoted those words of Solomon, “Rejoice, O young man, in the days of thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the day of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou (Remember this, youth) that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”
Youth is the time to remember, the time when it is so very easy to remember. The mind of youth is clear, and the afflictions of later life do not yet affect his mind. Indeed, soon enough these will strike him with unrelenting force. Solomon points out that the days will soon be here when we will say that we have no pleasure in our days anymore. Listen to this wise man, youth. Listen to him because God is speaking through him. Remember what God says when today you are bombarded by the philosophies of men. Vitamin pill advertisements, medical bulletins, health columns and the like all intend to assure you that the span of life is being lengthened. We are making life more pleasant for the aged. Rest homes, social security insurance, and old age pensions are making the declining years more comfortable. Ah, yes, youth, but remember your Creator. Remember what He says through Moses inPsalm 90, “The days of our years are three score and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.” Their strength is labor and sorrow. You will soon feel it, Your body will soon tell you that your spirit will soon return unto God, the Creator, who gave it.
Solomon presents this so beautifully and figuratively in that twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes. In verse 2 he tells us that cloudy days are coming. There will be days when we will not see the sun, the moon and the stars. It will rain. Misery and affliction will be our lot. And hardly has the sky begun to clear in the west, and it begins to rain again. We are hardly over this ache and pain, and lo, another misery gnaws at our bones and gives pain in the flesh. He goes on in verse 3 to indicate that the muscles shall lose their strength and man shall become bent and stooped. No longer will he stand so erect and manly as when he stood at attention during his basic training in the armed forces. And whereas formerly he could lift an object of a certain weight with ease, now he finds that, because of his weakened and stiffening muscles, his arms and legs tremble under that weight. Weakness has set in. The teeth are few and there is not much left wherewith to grind food. The eyesight fails. Single lens glasses, then bifocals and afterward trifocals even fail to give satisfactory sight. “They that look out at the windows are darkened.” Neither does man eat with the zest and enthusiasm of youth. This and that and the other thing do not agree with his aging digestive system. He is gradually returning to his childhood milk diet with a little toast. He does not open the door of his mouth for food as often or as widely. Sleep escapes him, and he rises with the birds. He takes his catnaps, but sound sleep and restful sleep escape him. The music he enjoyed, he can hardly hear, for his hearing too is impaired. Man goes to his long home. Fears’ shall grip him. He will be afraid to go out in the snow and storm and to drive in fog and on ice. In his youth he thrilled to pit his strength and skill at the “elements” and would laugh when you told him to be careful. Now he voices his fears to his children. The garden is full of weeds and the pests eat up the vegetables because his reflexes are too slow and his interest too little to be out there to drive them away. Such is man before his spirit returns to God Who gave it. In that light read Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, and we will quote them for you to read.
“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. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the birds, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; Also when he is afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Verbum sapienti Sat! A word to the wise is sufficient!
Remember then, youth.
Now you can learn with your clear mind. Now you can study that Word of God unhindered by the afflictions that soon shall be your lot. Now you can commit to memory the works’ and Word of this Creator. Now you are as the twig: and as the twig is bent, so the tree will grow. You cannot spend your youth in riotous living, forsaking the means at hand for growth in knowledge of the truth and the mysteries of the kingdom; you cannot fill your Sabbath with the things of the world, sleep through the whole sermon, sleep some more at home, while the whole Sabbath away, and then in later life be rich in spiritual experiences of salvation and be a pillar of faith in the Church. Fill your mind and your day with that which God prepares for you. Study His Word and listen to the exposition of it. Prepare faithfully and thoroughly for your society discussion of that Word. Fill not your mind with cheap novels of worldly passion and thrill. Hide God’s Word away in your heart, for you live in a more evil day than your parents did in their childhood days. Soon that Word will be denied us; and men shall forbid our right to assemble to hear it and worship. It will then have to be hidden in your heart. It will have to be in your mind where no man can take it from you.
Remember, O youth, to remember your Creator.
Walk in His fear and let that be your rejoicing. Then the day will never come when you will say that you have no pleasure in such activity.