The Preacher who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes ended his writings with a grim reminder of our mortality. Chapter 12 refers to our senior years as “evil days”. The Preacher is so encouraging as he reminds us of what awaits; diminished eyesight, weak bones, curved spines, losing teeth, having trouble sleeping and loss of hearing.
Our lesson title comes from verse 5 which talks about various fears. Midway through the verse the Preacher uses grasshoppers to illustrate how small things can become a very big deal. What was once considered little things now become a fear or burden. By the way, Acridophobia is the fear of grasshoppers.
In this lesson I want to confront the realities of our mortality, understand it and know that God can use anyone of any age to fulfill His purposes.
Our example today will be on a well-known character of the Old Testament, Daniel.
The nation of Israel has been defeated by the Babylon Empire ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar. The best and brightest youth, a group that included Daniel, were taken from their homeland of Israel and brought back to Babylon to be assimilated into their culture.
Immediately Daniel stood out both for his unyielding desire to honor God and for his ability to learn and apply knowledge. The bible records that Daniel was the head of the class. As a result Daniel was given a post as an adviser to the king.
Daniel continued to rise in rank interpreting dreams and giving wise council during the days of king Nebuchadnezzar.
The next king’s name, 2 Kings 25:27 & Jer. 52:31, was Evilmerodach. Upon the death of Nebuchadnezzar it would appear that Daniel’s services were no longer required. You know how the younger generation thinks that senior adults no longer have a clue. They see the changes we discussed earlier in Ecclesiastes and interpret it as weakness.
From the end of chapter 4 of Daniel to the beginning of chapter 5 we have a period of about 30 years. By this time Daniel is around 85 years old.
There is a new king now by the name of Belshazzar. This kingdom was riding the wave of self-indulgence, greed, irresponsibility, no respect for people or property, everything was one big party. But then one day…. The Hand of God writes a message on the wall. Daniel 5:5-9 Real crises requires real answers. As long as times are good our seniors will be disrespected. “Look at the old man he can’t even tie his shoe.” But what happens when our world is rocked? The people of Babylon were powerless because God will not bless this type of behavior. I know that right now our economy is not that great but we still have it pretty good. Any person, group or even a nation who disrespects their seniors are at odds against Almighty God. This will not go on forever.
Daniel 5:10-13 tells us plainly why they asked Daniel for the answer. (They had to admit that they didn’t know.) When people are desperate enough they will swallow their pride. Daniel was called because he was the only one who could give them an answer.
If you are considered young you may very well have noticed the elevation of fears in your parents or grandparents. Do not dismiss this as weakness. It is part of the “evil days” we will all endure if the Lord gives us long life. Give the respect and honor due seniors, they have much they can teach us if we will take the time to listen.
If you are a senior adult living in the “evil days”, accept the changes; do not consider your ability to contribute meaningless. God may yet have important work for you. There may come a day when God confounds the foolishness of this generation and they will look for answers. If they look to the old ways, will you be ready, like Daniel?