Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Proverbs 20:29 commentary; Glory and Beauty?

29 ¶ The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

There is always something assumed in the Bible when things like this are stated. Let’s look at another verse on the gray head of age. First, let me bring in this next, unrelated verse by way of definition.

Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

By way of what we know of how the Bible defines words in this verse we see that “the hoary head” is a synonymous to “the old man.” Now, in the following verse we’ve already gone over in Proverbs see what is said about the elder man.

Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

The Holy Spirit does what I’m going to point out to you in other verses. For instance;

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

If you don’t see the thought in this verse you’ll be confused. It says, “for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempeth he any man” and we should add in our own understanding “with evil” to complete the intention. For we know that God tempted Abraham.

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

But God didn’t tempt Abraham with the intention of destroying him. Satan tempts us with evil, for the purpose of our destruction. God tempts or proves His people but to reveal character and obedience, not to attempt to destroy them. Here’s an example of tempt meaning to prove.

Psalms 95:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

The Bible compels us to understand this Proverb, expects us to assume the understanding of this Proverb without adding to the verse itself because it is wrong to do so, one, and unnecessary for understanding, two, as “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head” just as Proverbs 16:31 told us regarding the old man, “if it be found in the way of righteousness”.

No humanistic explanation will do. Young men have natural strength and marvelous recuperative abilities. I used to be able to work out six days a week hard. But now, I find that I need a couple of days off between sessions of heavy exercise. We don’t have platoons of sixty year old men going into combat in the military. They are for the most part of late teen age years or in their twenties. But, there is no glory in the strength of youth if it is found in the way of wickedness.

Young men, your strength is only your glory if it is used to glorify God. If you don’t manifest the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, the love for your brothers and sisters in John 13:34,35 and 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, then your strength is wasted. If you don’t serve God with your strength but prefer to serve yourself then your strength is as wasted on you as beauty is wasted on an indiscreet and carnal young woman.

Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

Old men, there is an assumption of gravity, wisdom, and honor with that gray head, that hoary head. If it is not found in righteousness I assure you that there is no beauty in being an old fool. Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith, if I may paraphrase Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 and if your life reveals the fruit of, the proof of the Spirit, in your life. The same goes for the elder woman.

Since I don’t believe that it is moral or beneficial to get people to do things by trying to manipulate their emotions what I’m about to say is just to get you to think and consider. Don’t FEEL guilty, act. This is a call to action, not a lamentation or guilt trip. Here we go;

You know IFB people like to talk about knocking on doors and leaving gospel tracts everywhere they go and witnessing whenever possible. It’s important to do that, we all agree. I mean, I leave tracts on the shelves in the grocery stores, at the gas pump, and give them to waitstaff with a healthy tip, and, if led by the Holy Spirit witness directly to people. I leave tracts as I walk and speak to people as I can. But, if you can’t get your relatives, your friends, your coworkers, and classmates to come to church or to consider Christ seriously, people you see every day or regularly, some of whom love you, then what does that say about how we appear to them? Young people, is your strength and beauty your glory for God’s glory? Older people, does your aged head’s beauty reveal God’s glory?

Most of the people I talk to and argue with who aren’t Christians make almost exactly the same or similar statement about how they perceive Christians, particularly Fundamentalists who take the Bible literally, and Evangelicals, who witness for their faith to get people saved. They think we’re paranoid, terrified, mean spirited, and filled with rage and hate, or a desire to control others who don’t agree with us.

Now, I know the world doesn’t love Christ. He warned us about that. But for them to not love Christ partly because we’re so unloveable and unapproachable and judgmental and unforgiving and self righteous is obscene and an affront to God.

When David sinned greatly it was said to him;

2Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme….

The glory of the young men and the beauty of the old men, the one’s strength and the other’s gray head, can only be commended if they present Christ to a dying world, as the only hope for mankind, love their brothers and sisters and have a heart for the lost, understanding that they were once lost and undone themselves and knew nothing better than the desires of their own flesh and the demands of a lost world, as spiritual children of Satan himself.

Please, read this Bible. Read it over and over. Let God change you through His words in this Book. As heroes of the Reformation said like Dumoulin and champions of the Textus Receptus like Dean John Burgon said, if you read this Book, over and over, God will speak to you through it and He will change you as you read.

Let our glory and beauty, Christ’s glory and beauty, shine in a dark world.

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