Old Does Not Equal Wise

By Marilyn Ehle

“If you live in my presence…pure in heart and action…then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel, make it a sure thing on a solid foundation…”
“As Solomon grew old…his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God
…” 1 Kings 11

In many cultures it is assumed that a head of white hair indicates wisdom. Silver-haired men and women are honored, their words given full attention. Several years ago my husband decided to grow a beard but was dismayed when it grew in more gray than brown! This was definitely not the image he desired, but he soon discovered unexpected and positive results. At the time his work involved meeting with leaders of many African countries and with his now mostly gray beard, they treated him with new respect.

Solomon was a rich and happy man. God blessed him with more material wealth than we can imagine. He ruled his country with wisdom and neighboring countries bowed to his power. But this haunting description of Solomon’s latter years arrests our attention: “As Solomon grew old…his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God”

We who have lived many years stand warned. Without vigilant attention to heart attitudes, without growth in the spiritual disciplines, without nurture of relationships with family and friends, we will merely age, not grow. Neither the passage of years nor a head of white hair guarantees wisdom. No, old does not necessarily equal wise.

Father, help me never be satisfied with status quo but to truly seek after you, living a life constantly open to seeing you with new eyes and following you into new paths.

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