Want to grow old quickly? Allow bitterness to take root in your life.
Want to stay young? Think young. That is, be like a child, have a fear of the Lord that includes a sense of wonder about who He is and all that He does.
Grumpy, dissatisfied people are the oldest people on earth. They internalize so much and I am convinced that it ages them beyond their years.
Think about two women from the Old Testament in this context. Let me ask you this question: “Who was the older woman – Sarah, the wife of Abraham, or Michal, the wife of David, a daughter of Saul?”
In terms of chronology, of course, Sarah was the old lady. She was 90 when she heard the Lord speaking to Abraham about her having a son. The words made her giggle about how it all would happen: “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (see Genesis 18).
Sarah was called out of her tent and confronted for her unbelief. She denied her laughter, but the Lord knew better. And, Proverbs does say that laughter does good like medicine.
Did her giggles wake up the womb that had been so dead?
God would make Sarah young again in this way. She did bear a son, Isaac, a name that means “laughter.” For decades, Sarah, a beautiful woman whom Abraham taught to lie about being his wife, lived with the stigma of being barren. Women who failed to produce children were seen as cursed in many ancient societies. People whispered and gossiped about these wives who so wanted to be mothers.
God blessed her and Abraham with the child He had promised.
Scorn Leaves Lasting Scars
Now, think of Michal. She watched David from her window as he celebrated the Ark’s arrival in Jerusalem. The Ark, representative of the presence of the Lord, had been captured by the Philistines in battle. This small chest was the center point of Moses’ Tabernacle. The Ark, with its Mercy Seat, originally remained hidden behind a thick veil. The instructions in Exodus and Leviticus were that only the high priest went beyond the veil – only once a year and always with the blood of atonement. The Mercy Seat featured images of golden cherubim that framed the place where the blood was to be sprinkled.
At this point, the Ark was out in the open and all of Israel could see it. Now, the Ark had come to King David, to his city, to the capital of Israel, to rest until a Temple was made ready to house it.
All this filled the heart of King David. Overwhelmed, he started to leap and whirl and dance. He did so wearing only a linen ephod. I picture this as something of an oversized undershirt or night shirt.
David made no effort to robe himself with dignified attire – no black tie and tails for this man at this time. There was no hypocrisy in him then. He glorified God and cut loose.
Michal watched and burned. She viewed the procession from a distance. David’s dance stirred scorn in her. When her husband came home, Michal was quick to express her disdain for his joy: “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” (2 Samuel 6:20).
Bitterness got the best of Michal, and her womb died that day. The Scriptures tell us that she never had any children.
Bitterness got the best of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They felt no joy as Jesus healed and delivered and forgave among them. Their worlds were so closed, their hearts so hard, that they became murderous in their opposition to Christ.
The Character of the Kingdom
Zechariah 8:3-5 defines the character of the Lord’s future kingdom for us: “Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”
Jesus told His disciples to live like children and to love children. He told them, “Be small in your own eyes and look to your great God. And, love small ones with My great love – for the Kingdom belongs to the childlike.”Just be who you are before God. Forgive and forget. Laugh and sing. Leap and dance. Play and pray, pray, pray. Click To Tweet
In Mark 9, Jesus wrapped His arms around a little one as He made His point about greatness to the Apostles.
Children – they love surprises, they love to play. They also throw tantrums and ask lots of questions. God can handle it all and love all the same, no matter what’s going in our lives.
Just be who you are before God. Forgive and forget. Laugh and sing. Leap and dance. Play and pray, pray, pray.
This is what the fear of the Lord is all about. It sets Him in honor and rejoices in His presence. There’s a sense of security and love. Let’s see Him as the faithful and true Savior and Lord that He is and always will be.