It is not surprising in a book of wisdom, the benefits of years of experience are held in high esteem. In a culture as youth-obsessed as our own, it can be hard to see the “splendor” in growing older. In fact, most ads on TV and social media are in some way promoting youth, and it’s associated strength and vigor.
Not so in the culture of the bible. Leviticus 19:32 commands “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.” This isn’t a subtle suggestion or an aspirational goal: God’s people are to show respect to those who are older and honor them. We know to stand when we are worshiping God, it’s a sign of reverence and respect. God says to show the same respect to the elderly, and in doing so, honor Him.
This isn’t the natural inclination of our hearts. We want to honor the athletic and martial strength of the young. We honor their contributions to the workforce, their value as consumers, and of course their appearance.
In the book of Daniel, one of the most used titles for God is “The Ancient of Days” We understand the eternal nature of God, and often in art, God the Father is depicted as a grey-bearded figure. Yet we often fail to show any respect for our fellow brothers and sisters when they too, by earthly standards, appear the same.
In the New Testament era, leaders of the Christian movement are called “elders.” We acknowledge that when it comes to spiritual leadership, age is of proven value. There is wisdom, perspective, and a certainty of faith that only comes from many years of walking with the Lord.
So today, let’s follow the counsel of scripture and not the trends of our culture when it comes to showing honor to others. Yes, it is good to be young in its time, but the blessing of many years of service to the King is valuable beyond measure.
Prayer for Today
Father, help me to honor you by showing respect and admiration towards others that you would want me to. Jesus, your example shows me how to show love and respect to those who are more advanced in years than I am. You are the eternal God, yet while here on earth showed respect and honor to those God asked you to. By your Holy Spirit, help me to see people less from a physical perspective and more from a spiritual one. Help me to respect the wisdom of others, and honor their faithful service to you. Amen.