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Bible study: The wisdom of old and young

Whatever our age, God is there for us, and always will be

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From: Older people – Footsteps 39

Learning from and celebrating the contribution of older people to society

The wisdom of old and young.  

As we grow older, some of our activities may stop but new opportunities of love and living may also open up, as may awareness of past weakness. Whatever our age, God is there for us, and always will be. 

Read Isaiah 46:3-4

At a time of crisis, God reminds the nation of Israel, through Isaiah, that he was there when their nation began, and also when each individual person was conceived and born. Whatever troubles we have in life, who else but God can carry us through life, from birth until our hairs are grey?

Read Proverbs 23:22-25

The whole book of Proverbs is a message from a father to his young son. He is passing on advice collected and tested by wise people, so that his son may follow them. He wants him to grow up fearing God. You might take time to read the whole book and compare these sayings with your own traditional ones.

  • Do we listen to our parents and bring them joy?

Read 1 Kings 12:1-20

King David’s son, Solomon, began his reign as a God-fearing king. However, by the end of his reign, he had become a harsh ruler. As his son took over as king, everyone was worried. So they sent Jeroboam to ask the new king this question: ‘Rehoboam, will you be as hard on us as Solomon was, or will you be more sensible?’ Rehoboam turned for advice to two different groups – the old and the young. He chose to reject the advice of his elders, with the result that Israel was split into two groups that were never reunited during Old Testament times.

Many older people have great wisdom about life, their faith, history, or perhaps traditional practices (such as the use of medicinal herbs) from which we might all benefit. Seek first the wisdom of the elders, while they are able to give it.

  • Why did Rehoboam take the wrong advice?
  • Do you listen to those older than you?

Read Job 32

As Job suffers greatly, his three older friends listen and then give their advice. Unfortunately, they are of no help, because they get it wrong! A young man called Elihu eventually speaks up, with more understanding. Sometimes younger people see things more clearly. As our world changes so fast, particularly in the areas of science, computers and communications, there may often be times when we also need to listen to the young.

  • Do you listen to those younger than you?
  • When should we listen to the advice of younger people?

We should not fear change as we grow older. We have the company of both older and younger people and above all the company of our Creator, Lord and Saviour to help us meet all of life’s changes.

Tim Oakley has many years experience of theological training by extension in Kenya.

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