This Week's Focus Passage

Remember Thy Creator in the Days of Your Youth

Focus Passage: Ecclesiastes 12:1

‘Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come.’

Qoheleth exhorts his readers that while they are in their youth; while they are yet young in days, to call to mind their Creator, because there are evil days coming. Think, he says, about eternal matters before you become too old and infirm in your mind and memory to even be capable of remembering your Creator. We all know from our own experience, or at least, through the experience of some member of our family, or some friend or neighbor, that we will not always have the potentials that we now possess; we will not always be able to physically exert ourselves as we now may be able; we will not always be able to calculate simple things as we now do with such ease. In other words, the days are coming when we will no longer be young; it is a common plight of youth to recklessly imagine that the way we are at the present is the way we will be for a great while to come. But it is simply not the case. Those who have preceded us have all passed this way before us, and in the same manner. They once thought that they would always have strength; they would always have a fine memory; they would always be able to figure things out for themselves. Contrariwise, the Preacher exhorts all men to consider their ways ‘before the evil days come;’ before all these abilities that we now take for granted are taken away from us and we go the way of our fathers.

The world repeatedly says to us and our fellows on this planet, ‘Go for the gusto.’ ‘Grab the ring while you can; you only go around once in life.’ ‘Get all you can while you can.’ Isn’t this precisely what Qoheleth asserts that he did? And how did it work for him? He has told us that;

Whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor; and this was my portion from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun. —Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

This man was positioned authoritatively and economically so that he could, with a wave of his hand, as it were, or a look from his eye, secure anything that he wished for; he virtually only needed to wish for it. And yet the conclusion that he was forced to reach was that the longed for satisfaction was nothing but a striving after wind, vanity in which there was ultimately no real and lasting profit.

In the end of the matter, the counsel he offers to his readers and hearers is to remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Most of mankind exhaust their youth is seeking after things that bring no profit to the soul and heart of the man seeking them. Before one realizes it, the evil days come. Qoheleth speaks of the days when youthfulness has gone; that youthfulness which many expected would always be available, as the songwriter expressed it in one of the popular songs of the sixties, ‘Those were the days, my friend; we thought they’d never end.’ Qoheleth affirms that they will most assuredly end. While funeral directors will fill our email and snail mail boxes with reasons why we should make plans today for ‘that day,’ the Preacher exhorts us to make preparations by remembering our Creator in the days of our youth, before the evil days come.

He has given us a rather graphic picture of the ‘evil days’ of which he is speaking, if we grasp the figurative language. Most commentators are not ready to dismiss the metaphors employed, but rather embrace them, as do we ourselves. ‘In the days when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves,’ seems to distinctively point to that time when we are simply not as strong as we were in the days of our youth. These are the days when the grinders shall cease because they are few; is it not conspicuous that this refers to the teeth that shall inevitably become fewer and fewer? Even in a time when such progress has been attained that we are able to replace those ‘grinders’ with bridges and other supplementary devices, we should still by the very necessity of these ‘devices’ be willing to admit that the ‘evil days’ are coming nearer, and so should ‘remember our Creator.’ Yea, we don’t hear as well as we once did; we don’t walk as surely as we once did. We try to listen more carefully to the speech of others, and we take our steps less certainly than we once had.

The writer of the ninetieth psalm has well prayed to God that He would, ‘Teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom.’ Rather than ignorantly forgetting our God, we are called to remember our Creator. We are not to wait until the ‘evil days come,’ but to get us a heart of wisdom ‘before the evil days come.’ How many have failed in this and regretted it? Consider the multitude that refused to remember their Creator in the days of Noah. The floods came and the waters rose; the evil days came, and they were unprepared. They had not been taught to number their days; they likely imagined that they had many days ahead of them; that all was well with them; ‘they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.’

We presently have only the breath in our nostrils. We do not have any guarantee for another breath. Simply put, we don’t know when the evil days will come. Truly, our lives ought to be spent in remembering our Creator in the days of our youth, while we may; while we have the means of grace showered down upon us in an abundance only paralleled by the abundance of the manna that was poured down upon the children of Israel in the desert. O that we would insure ourselves that we are hidden in Christ when the evil days do come, for they surely shall come, and not tarry.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at