SOLOMON’S WISDOM ABOUT GROWING OLDER
On the Wednesday following the Tuesday we last met (June 27th), I was spending some quality time just reading in the Word - and the Lord spoke to my heart and told me not to forsake the wisdom which is in the Old Testament. He led me back to many books dealing with the various kings of Israel, especially Solomon. Then, of course, I landed in the Book of Proverbs. He had me ‘soaking’ in Proverbs 3 - and I’m going to be reading and dealing with some very important things, that the wisest man (other than Jesus) who ever lived on the earth, had to say in this realm.
So - I’m going to read Proverbs 3:1-2 in NKJ - and then in the Amplified. (NKJ) “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”
(AMP) “My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you.”
So - the first thing God wants us to think on is this. If we’re not careful, we will easily FORGET the laws and teachings that God has brought into our lives. As we get older, it is common to deal with forgetfulness. And to tell you the truth, we shouldn’t hold on to the memories of the bad and unpleasant things in our past - we should let them go - but we must ponder on the good things we’ve learned about God - His Word - His Love - His Promises - His Faithfulness - and on and on. Brothers and Sisters, it takes effort to hold on to what we have received from the Lord. AND - WE HAVE TO KEEP HIS COMMANDS FROM OUR HEARTS - not just from nice outward actions which are just done to look good. Now - down to the nitty gritty - many older people just smile and try to look nice on the outside, but on the inside (in their hearts) they are upset, lonely, frustrated, fearful, and on and on. The Lord says that what people see on the outside of us should be what we are really like on the inside - in our hearts.
Now, that, that I just said, is only the first part - If we’ll remember (and not forget) what we’ve learned about God and we keep His commands from our hearts - it will play a very large part in how long we live and those older years being full of peace and everything that goes with it.
It’s not all about just the natural things of eating well and getting exercise - although there’s nothing wrong with that - and it is often very good for us.
If I can just make this as simple to understand as possible, as we grow older, if we’ll just make the Lord #1 in our lives, remembering His goodness, spending time in His Word, which reminds us of all the things we’ve learned before, and just staying in close communication with Him - instead of spending a lot of time feeling grumpy, lonely, sad, and on and on - so that we’re keeping His commands FROM OUR HEARTS - NOT JUST FOR SHOW - we will live long and be filled with peace. In other words, GODLINESS PROLONGS OUR LIVES AND FILLS US WITH PEACE.
Proverbs 3:3-4 (NKJ) “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” “And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.” (AMP) “Let not mercy and kindness (shutting out all hatred and selfishness) and truth (shutting out all all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood) forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart.” “So shall you find favor, good understanding and high esteem in the sight (or judgment) of God and man.”
First, let me just explain one little thing. We know what kindness is (it’s being nice, from your heart) to others). We know what truth is - It’s absolute honesty about everything in life - but it also is THE WORD OF GOD. So, in case someone doesn’t understand what mercy is - it is primarily not holding against anyone anything they have ever done or said that was hurtful. God showed His mercy on us by treating us as though we have never done anything wrong - and so forgiveness and mercy are very closely related.
So - how do you write mercy and kindness and truth on your heart, and bind them about your neck? Most of the Bible teachers I have learned from believe that this is saying that we are to take in the Word and speak it out of our mouths. David said in Psalm 45:1, “My tongue is the the pen of a ready writer.” Sometimes I just like to read the Bible outloud to myself. Now think about this for a minute. It is quite common for us to read - the Bible, a book, a letter, anything, without speaking it outloud, and, while we’re reading, our minds wander to other things. BUT, if you’re reading outloud, your ears are hearing what your mouth is saying and it’s hard for your mind to wander elsewhere. What a magnificent GOD He is WHO created us.
HE WANTS US TO WRITE MERCY AND KINDNESS AND TRUTH ON OUR HEARTS BY LETTING OUR EARS HEAR WHAT HE HAS SAID IN HIS WORD. HE SAYS IT WILL HELP US HAVE LONG AND PEACEFUL LIVES!!!
He also says that we will receive favor from both God and man. In other words, We will not only be receiving mercy and kindness and truth, we will also be giving it to others and receiving favor from all those we touch with mercy and kindness and truth.
Now Proverbs 3:5-6 - (NKJ) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your paths. (AMP) “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
Now, when Adam and Eve sinned, they made a decision based on their own knowledge and understanding. We must, as God’s children, heirs, and disciples, walk with Him and read His Word, so that we learn the difference between ‘our own knowledge and understanding’ and God’s knowledge and understanding.
Now, this is what He is saying in these two verses, as it relates to we NEW COVENANT (OR TESTAMENT) BELIEVERS, I’ve mentioned it many times before, but we need to hear it a lot. When we were born again, we got a NEW SPIRIT - replacing that old dead spirit - and we are, throughout our lives, as we are renewing our minds by the truth we receive from our NEW SPIRIT, growing in our knowledge and understanding of God’s ways. None of us have arrived at perfection yet - we’re all in a growth process. The way we grow is by taking in God’s Word!!! The Word of God shows us what He’s like, the way He thinks, what He has promised, why things are the way they are, AND IT SHOWS US WHAT HIS WILL IS FOR US HERE ON THIS EARTH. As we take in the Word, our mind is renewed (in our soul) and our soul and spirit get into one accord.
I know that some people have not been much of a reader in their lives and it’s hard to read the Word on a daily basis - BUT it really is important in maturing as a Christian. It is really developing a close relationship with the Lord. AND - IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO LIVING A LONG LIFE FILLED WITH PEACE AND TRANQILITY.
Now listen to these next two verses - Proverbs 3:7-8 (NKJ) “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” (AMP) “Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn entirely away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.” Now, I’m going to read verse 8 from the King James version - “It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones.”
Now - we know what nerves are. Sinews is the tissue that unites muscles to bones. Marrow is where our red blood cells are produced. Now - here’s something I learned as I searched about these things. I’m quoting from Andrew Wommack’s Living New Commentary - “Strong’s Concordance says that the Hebrew word SHOR, which was translated ‘navel’ in this verse (in KJV), means “a string (as twisted…) i.e. (specifically) the umbilical cord (also figuratively), as the center of strength.’ So, not being wise in our own eyes but depending upon the Lord for our wisdom is like having an umbilical cord attached to us that flows the life of God into us.”
Now - I know that may be difficult to understand - but, the way I see it - is that learning to totally depend on the Lord regarding everything in our lives is like CONNECTING US TO THE WISDOM OF GOD FROM OUR SPIRITS TO FLOW INTO OUR DAILY LIVES. THEREFORE, IT IS CLOSING DOWN ON WORRY, FEAR, FRUSTSRATION, UPSET, ANGER, AND ALL THE OTHER BAD ATTITUDES - AND THAT HELPS OUR BODIES BE HEALTHY!!!!!!!!!!
Brothers and sisters, living daily in an attitude of love, joy, peace, and all the rest of the fruits of the spirit, causes our physical bodies to function well and helps us live our golden years with less pain and trauma.
Now, it is obviously normal that, as we grow older, life is different for us than it used to be - BUT - we can go through the rest of our lives, happy, fulfilled, and peacefully - BOTH INSIDE AND OUT - by spending time in the Word of God and learning to trust Him concerning everything in life.
At this point, I want to read another verse, which is not in Proverbs, but is important in this topic. It’s Exodus 20:12 - (NKJ) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Now, the reason I am bringing this up is that this command is the 5th one of the 10 Commandments, and it is mentioned in Romans and Ephesians.
Through the years, I have known many older people who are still holding on to the hurt and pain caused by parents who were not good parents. I have learned that, forgiveness for all that bad (even though they aren’t even alive anymore), and letting go of it, is an open door to peace and love that was not available to them before. If one holds on to that pain and hate, it isn’t harming the ones who did it - but it is harming you. It even has an effect on your ability to live long here on this land.
Now I know that terrible things have been experienced by people from their parents - but God can help you let go of the hate, the pain, and open a new world of peace to you - both spiritually and physically.
I know that every situation is unique and the consequences of people’s actions have had a terrible impact on lives - however, if we look at it from God’s point of view, we can actually and honestly forgive all the bad and experience peace like never before.
Think on it this way. Jesus hung on that cross, being stabbed, having nails pounded into his hands and feet, having thorns pushed into his head - and then died - and He did it to pay the price for all of us - a price we couldn’t pay. We were sinners, on our way to hell, but, when we accepted what He did for us, He put in our new ‘born again spirits’ the ability to forgive, just like He did. He forgave us! We can forgive - no matter how bad it hurt us - because we are in Him.
I personally believe that a very important part of walking in forgiveness, and letting go of the hurt, is not talking about it anymore. It’s the past. Leave it there. It may be difficult to “HONOR” your father and mother, but one way is to quit telling everybody how bad they were. One way of thinking different is to concentrate on the fact that, without them, you wouldn’t be here. They gave you life!!! Ponder on that!!
Also, think about HONORING THEM HELPS TO GIVE YOU LONG LIFE ON THIS EARTH.
Now, here’s another Scripture from Proverbs. It’s Proverbs 17:22 - (NKJ) “A merry heart does good like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” (AMP) “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
Now - just so there is no confusion about this - a born-again person has a new spirit - but, if that person has not taken in the Word, has not taken advantage of what is in the new spirit and, therefore, just keeps living like he/she did before, the spirit is not active to the person. Therefore, although he is going to heaven when he dies, he doesn’t have a happy heart and his body is responding to his sadness and sluggishness. Thus - DRY BONES!
I think this is really important to get ahold of and remember. God created mankind and gave mankind authority here on this earth. God will not violate His own law - He will not just ‘whoosh’ in and violate your free will. Someone says, “Well, if God loves me, why doesn’t He just change everything for me and then I would be happy and have a merry heart?” BECAUSE HE GAVE THE AUTHORITY OVER YOU TO YOU!!!
“You mean I’m supposed to take authority over my own emotions and my mind, and my body - and talk to ME?” YES!!!!!!!!!
You are the one who has authority over you here on this earth. You can speak to your emotions! You can speak to your mind! You can speak to your body! ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
You have to get to a place where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired!!!! You forgive if that is an issue. You tell your emotions that you belong to Jesus and you’re going to be happy and merry, instead of sad and grumpy.
Now - let’s think about all these things we’ve been hearing about from the Word -
Not forgetting what we’ve learned about God and it producing long life and peace -
Writing mercy, kindness and truth on our hearts
produces long and peaceful lives -
Trusting Him by REALLY getting to know His
Word & being led by our new spirit instead of always trying to figure it out ourselves -
Not trying to be wise in our own eyes but looking to God - brings health to our flesh -
Honoring your father and mother brings long life -
A merry heart does good like medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones -
Now that’s a lot of stuff to take in, BUT, to get down to the nitty gritty, as I say all the time, the basic thing that ties all these things together is this. If we will REALLY, REALLY, REALLY give up trying to figure everything out ourselves, but look to the Word of God, our lives will be happy on the inside and relatively healthy on the outside, and He will help us to live long. In other words, we don’t have to be sick and weak to go to heaven. If we make a determined effort to get to know what God is really like by soaking in His Word, we will begin to understand things like we haven’t before. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have things here and there, physically, that we have to deal with, but it does mean that, if we’re walking with Him, those things do not govern our lives - GOD DOES.
As we get older, we have more time than we used to have to just do whatever we want to do. Now each of us are unique - our lives are different - our families are different - our backgrounds are different - SO, there isn’t a “One Size Fits All” solution for our everyday lives that works for everybody. The reason I mention the time thing is because God loves to use the older Christians to spend time praying because they have more time than the younger ones who are busy at their jobs and raising their families.
However, in order for an individual to be used by the Lord in that realm, the person must give himself to the Lord to be used, rather than just being self-centered, and sitting around having a pity party for themselves.
In other words, I have to believe those verses we’ve just heard. I have to believe that, as I take in the Word, and yield the right-of-way to the Lord, my life will have meaning, my body will respond to the Word, and PEACE WILL RULE IN MY HEART. Does that mean that I won’t ever have a pain or a problem? No - but it means that that pain or problem will not run my life - because I am a child of the Most High God - and I have His promises - and I believe them!
If I truly believe what His Word has to say, then I will walk through my older years with PEACE instead of worry and frustration. Yes, I will do the appropriate things in the natural world - like eating pretty healthy, and taking as good a care as possible of my body. I will take advantage of the senior citizen insurance plan that is available to me and see the medical world, which helps my family to be sure they are doing what they can to see to me, as I get older. I don’t look at the medical world as an enemy but as a friend and helper. In fact, I think I’ve mentioned this before, I try to look at the doctors I go to as friends. I almost always get into conversations with them. As we’re talking about a specific test or something on my body, I kinda’ joke around a little with them and we’re both laughing at that point. Then I say something like, “By the way, I’m just letting you know that I’m a pray-er. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time and I talk to the Lord about everything. I’ll talk to Him about this.” They almost always smile and make a positive comment. I had a heart doctor (back a few years ago in Port St. Lucie) and he actually spoke positive words to me when I said things like that. Then he was getting ready to move back to an Island, which he came from, and he gave a little card to me, saying that he wanted everything to go well with me. It was a wonderful memory - getting a card from my heart doctor! That was very kind and sweet.
Brothers and sisters - our wonderful and loving Heavenly Father loves us so much and He wants our lives to be as pleasant as possible while we are still on this earth. He wants us to be happy (or merry) and He wants us to understand how to live in such a way that we can overcome physical hindrances. He wants us to actually LIVE IN THE TRUTH THAT THE WAY WE ARE ON THE INSIDE CAN HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE WAY WE ARE ON THE OUTSIDE (IN OUR BODIES).
Living in peace, rather than fear, or worry, or frustration, or self-centeredness, will help us live in our golden years the way He planned for us to live.
Scripture used in this lesson