We are living in a day when a great many young people/adults have little or no respect for the “hoary” (“gray” – NKJ) headed our number. Yet, the Bible teaches very plainly that we are to have great respect for those blessed in years. If our world would respect and listen to the wisdom of those who are in the twilight of life, our world would be a better place to live.
The Bible unequivocally pronounces, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and thou shalt fear thy God: I am Jehovah” (Lev. 19:32). Even Solomon, king in Israel, honored and showed respect to his aged mother. Concerning this the Bible says, “Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a throne to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand” (1 Kgs. 2:19). Solomon also said, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, And despise not thy mother when she is old” (Pro. 23:22).
Great lamentation was heard in Israel because “the faces of elders were not honored” (Lam. 5:12). Paul said that children are to “to requite [or, repay – NKJ] their parents: for this is acceptable in the sight of God” (1 Tim. 5:4) – one way this can be done is through honor and respect.
The older need to be honored as teachers of youth (Tit. 2:1-5). Paul knew of the value of mothers and grandmothers, for Eunice and Lois taught Timothy the Holy Scriptures from his youth (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). We must always honor the older because the “multitude of years should teach wisdom” (Job. 32:7).
What is our responsibility to the “hoary head?” Solomon said, “The hoary head is a crown of glory; It shall be found in the way of righteousness” (Pro. 16:31), and “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, And despise not thy mother when she is old” (Pro. 23:22). Thus, we must respect, esteem and honor our seniors of life.
We must provide for them, “if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). David pleaded, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth” (Psa. 71:9). Too many children have forsaken their parents when they have gotten old. Too many have ignored our elderly brethren. These attitudes and actions defy the commands of God.
The hoary headed ones of our number have responsibilities as well. The responsibility of not retiring from the work of the Lord (Rev. 2:10). They must be willing to share their wisdom and knowledge (1 Kgs. 12:6-12). They must be willing to set good examples for the youth (Tit. 2:2-5). And they must never be ashamed of their age (Pro. 16:31).
There are great blessings in old age. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of Jehovah; They shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and green” (Psa. 92:12-14).