Remember Your Grand Creator!
“Remember, now, your Grand Creator . . . before the calamitous days proceed to come.”—ECCLESIASTES 12:1.
1. How should young people dedicated to God want to use their youth and strength?
JEHOVAH gives his servants strength to do his will. (Isaiah 40:28-31) This is true regardless of their age. But young people dedicated to God should especially want to use their youth and strength wisely. Therefore, they take to heart the counsel of “the congregator,” King Solomon of ancient Israel. He urged: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’”—Ecclesiastes 1:1; 12:1.
2. What should children of dedicated Christians do?
2 Solomon’s admonition about remembering the Grand Creator during youth was first directed to young men and women of Israel. They were born into a nation dedicated to Jehovah. What about the children of dedicated Christians today? Surely, they should bear their Grand Creator in mind. If they do so, they will honor him and will benefit themselves.—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Fine Examples From the Past
3. What examples were set by Joseph, Samuel, and David?
3 Many young people of Bible record set fine examples as those who remembered their Grand Creator. From early life onward, Jacob’s son Joseph remembered his Creator. When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph to engage in sexual immorality with her, he firmly refused and stated: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) The Levite Samuel remembered his Creator not only in his childhood but throughout his life. (1 Samuel 1:22-28; 2:18; 3:1-5) Youthful David of Bethlehem certainly kept his Creator in mind. His trust in God was evident when he faced the Philistine giant Goliath and declared: “You are coming to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I am coming to you with the name of Jehovah of armies, the God of the battle lines of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day Jehovah will surrender you into my hand, and I shall certainly strike you down and remove your head off you; . . . and people of all the earth will know that there exists a God belonging to Israel. And all this congregation will know that neither with sword nor with spear does Jehovah save, because to Jehovah belongs the battle, and he must give you men into our hand.” Soon, Goliath was dead, and the Philistines took to flight.—1 Samuel 17:45-51.
4. (a) What shows that our Grand Creator was remembered by a captive Israelite girl in Syria and by young King Josiah? (b) How did 12-year-old Jesus show that he remembered his Creator?
4 Another young person who remembered the Grand Creator was a captive Israelite girl. She gave such a fine witness to the wife of Syrian army chief Naaman that he went to God’s prophet, was cured of leprosy, and became a worshiper of Jehovah. (2 Kings 5:1-19) Young King Josiah courageously promoted the pure worship of Jehovah. (2 Kings 22:1–23:25) But the finest example of one who remembered his Grand Creator while still of tender age was Jesus of Nazareth. Consider what happened when he was 12 years old. His parents took him to Jerusalem for the Passover. On the return trip, they noted that Jesus was missing; so they turned back to search for him. On the third day, they found him discussing Scriptural questions with teachers at the temple. Responding to his mother’s anxious inquiry, Jesus asked: “Why did you have to go looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?” (Luke 2:49) It was beneficial for Jesus to obtain information of spiritual value at the temple, ‘the house of his Father.’ Today, the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses is an excellent place to acquire accurate knowledge of our Grand Creator.
Remember Jehovah Now!
5. In your own words, how would you express what the congregator said as recorded at Ecclesiastes 12:1?
5 The wholehearted worshiper of Jehovah desires to take up His service as soon as possible and to serve God the rest of his days. However, what are the prospects of a person whose youth is spent in vain because of not remembering the Creator? Under divine inspiration the congregator says: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’”—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
6. What evidence is there that aged Simeon and Anna remembered their Grand Creator?
6 No one delights in “the calamitous days” of old age. But the elderly who keep God in mind are joyful. For instance, aged Simeon took the infant Jesus into his arms at the temple and joyously declared: “Now, Sovereign Lord, you are letting your slave go free in peace according to your declaration; because my eyes have seen your means of saving that you have made ready in the sight of all the peoples, a light for removing the veil from the nations and a glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32) Eighty-four-year-old Anna also remembered her Creator. She was always at the temple and was present when the infant Jesus was taken there. “In that very hour she came near and began returning thanks to God and speaking about the child to all those waiting for Jerusalem’s deliverance.”—Luke 2:36-38.
7. What is the situation of those who have grown old in God’s service?
7 Present-day Witnesses of Jehovah who have grown old in God’s service may suffer the pains and limitations of advanced age. Yet, how happy they are, and how much we appreciate their faithful service! They have “the joy of Jehovah,” for they know that he has assumed his invincible power toward this earth and has installed Jesus Christ as a powerful heavenly King. (Nehemiah 8:10) Now is the time for young and old to heed the exhortation: “You young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for his name alone is unreachably high. His dignity is above earth and heaven.”—Psalm 148:12, 13.
8, 9. (a) For whom are “the calamitous days” unrewarding, and why is that the case? (b) How would you explain Ecclesiastes 12:2?
8 “The calamitous days” of old age are unrewarding—perhaps very distressing—to those who give no thought to their Grand Creator and who have no understanding of his glorious purposes. They have no spiritual comprehension that can counterbalance the trials of old age and the woes that have beset mankind since Satan was cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-12) Hence, the congregator urges us to remember our Creator “before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds have returned, afterward the downpour.” (Ecclesiastes 12:2) What is the significance of these words?
9 Solomon likens the time of youth to the Palestinian summer when sun, moon, and stars shed their light from a cloudless sky. Things then look very bright. In old age, however, a person’s days are like the cold, rainy season of winter, with one downpour of trouble after another. (Job 14:1) How sad it would be to know about the Creator but fail to serve him in the summertime of life! In life’s wintertime of old age, things darken, especially for those who have passed up opportunities to serve Jehovah in their youth because of involvement in vain pursuits. Regardless of our age, however, let us ‘follow Jehovah fully,’ as did faithful Caleb, a loyal associate of the prophet Moses.—Joshua 14:6-9.
Effects of Advancing Age
10. What is represented by (a) “the keepers of the house”? (b) “the men of vital energy”?
10 Solomon next points to difficulties “in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the men of vital energy have bent themselves, and the grinding women have quit working because they have become few, and the ladies seeing at the windows have found it dark.” (Ecclesiastes 12:3) The “house” denotes the human body. (Matthew 12:43-45; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8) Its “keepers” are the arms and hands, which protect the body and supply its needs. In old age they often tremble with weakness, nervousness, and palsy. “The men of vital energy”—the legs—no longer are sturdy pillars but have weakened and bend so that the feet merely shuffle along. Yet, are you not happy to see elderly fellow believers at Christian meetings?
11. Figuratively speaking, who are “the grinding women” and “the ladies seeing at the windows”?
11 “The grinding women have quit working because they have become few”—but how? The teeth may have decayed or been lost, with few if any left. Grinding solid food is difficult or ceases altogether. “The ladies seeing at the windows”—the eyes coupled with the mental faculties by which we see—become dim, if not completely dark.
12. (a) How is it that “the doors onto the street have been closed”? (b) What do you think about elderly Kingdom proclaimers?
12 “And,” continues the congregator, “the doors onto the street have been closed, when the sound of the grinding mill becomes low, and one gets up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song sound low.” (Ecclesiastes 12:4) The two doors of the mouth—the lips—no longer open much or at all to express what is in the “house,” or body, of those of advanced age who do not serve God. Nothing is sent forth on “the street” of public life. Yet, what about zealous elderly Kingdom proclaimers? (Job 41:14) They may walk slowly from house to house and some may speak with difficulty, but they surely praise Jah!—Psalm 113:1.
13. How does the congregator describe other problems of the elderly, but what is true of older Christians?
13 The sound of the grinding mill becomes low as food is chewed with toothless gums. On his bed an old man does not sleep soundly. Even the chirping of a bird disturbs him. Few are the songs that he sings, and his rendering of any melody is feeble. “All the daughters of song”—the melodic notes—“sound low.” The elderly one’s hearing of music and song produced by others is poor. However, older anointed ones and their companions, some of whom also are not so young, keep on raising their voices in songs of praise to God at Christian meetings. How glad we are to have them at our side, extolling Jehovah in the congregation!—Psalm 149:1.
14. What fears plague the aged?
14 How sad the lot of oldsters, especially those who have ignored the Creator! Says the congregator: “Also, they have become afraid merely at what is high, and there are terrors in the way. And the almond tree carries blossoms, and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry bursts, because man is walking to his long-lasting house and the wailers have marched around in the street.” (Ecclesiastes 12:5) At the top of a high staircase, many of the aged are fearful of falling. Even looking up at something high may make them dizzy. When they must go out into crowded streets, they are struck with terror at the thought of injury or assault by thieves.
15. How is it that “the almond tree carries blossoms,” and how does the grasshopper ‘drag itself along’?
15 In the case of an old man, “the almond tree carries blossoms,” apparently indicating that his hair turns gray, then snow-white. The hoary hairs fall like the white blossoms of the almond tree. As he ‘drags himself along,’ perhaps bent over with arms hanging down or hands resting on his hips with the elbows crooked upward, he resembles a grasshopper. If any of us look a little like that, though, let others take note that we are in Jehovah’s energetic, speedy locust army!—See The Watchtower, May 1, 1998, pages 8-13.
16. (a) What is suggested by ‘the bursting of the caper berry’? (b) What is man’s “long-lasting house,” and what signs of approaching death become evident?
16 The elderly person’s appetite is no longer keen, even if the food before him is as tasty as the caper berry. These berries have long been used to stimulate appetite. ‘The bursting of the caper berry’ suggests that when an old man’s appetite diminishes, even this fruit fails to awaken his desire for food. Such things indicate that he is nearing “his long-lasting house,” the grave. It will be his home forever if he has failed to bear his Creator in mind and has pursued such a wicked course that God does not remember him in the resurrection. Signs of approaching death are evident from the mournful tones and groans of complaint issuing forth from the doors of the oldster’s mouth.
17. How is “the silver cord” removed, and what may “the golden bowl” represent?
17 We are urged to remember our Creator “before the silver cord is removed, and the golden bowl gets crushed, and the jar at the spring is broken, and the waterwheel for the cistern has been crushed.” (Ecclesiastes 12:6) The “silver cord” may be the spinal cord. Death is certain when this marvelous pathway of impulses to the brain is irreparably damaged. The “golden bowl” may denote the brain, contained in the bowllike cranium, to which the spinal cord is attached. Golden for preciousness, the brain when broken down spells death.
18. What is the figurative “jar at the spring,” and what happens when it is broken?
18 “The jar at the spring” is the heart, which receives the stream of blood and sends it out again for circulation through the body. At death, the heart becomes like a broken jar, shattered at the spring because it can no longer receive, contain, and pump out the blood vital for the body’s nourishment and refreshment. The ‘crushed waterwheel for the cistern’ ceases to turn, ending circulation of life-sustaining blood. Jehovah thus revealed the circulation of blood to Solomon long before 17th-century physician William Harvey demonstrated that it circulates.
19. How do the words of Ecclesiastes 12:7 apply at death?
19 The congregator added: “Then the dust returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to the true God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) With the “waterwheel” crushed, the human body, originally made out of dust from the ground, returns to the dust. (Genesis 2:7; 3:19) The soul dies because the spirit, or life-force, given by God returns to and resides with our Creator.—Ezekiel 18:4, 20; James 2:26.
What Future for Those Who Remember?
20. What was Moses requesting when he prayed as recorded at Psalm 90:12?
20 Solomon very effectively showed how important it is to remember our Grand Creator. Surely, a comparatively short and troubled life is not all there is for those who keep Jehovah in mind and wholeheartedly do his will. Whether they are young or old, they have the same attitude as that of Moses, who prayed: “Show us just how to count our days in such a way that we may bring a heart of wisdom in.” God’s humble prophet earnestly desired that Jehovah show, or teach, him and the people of Israel to exercise wisdom in valuing ‘the days of their years’ and using them in a God-approved manner.—Psalm 90:10, 12.
21. If we are to count our days to Jehovah’s glory, what must we do?
21 Especially should Christian youths be determined to heed the congregator’s counsel to bear the Creator in mind. What splendid opportunities they have to render sacred service to God! Regardless of our age, however, if we learn to count our days to Jehovah’s glory in this “time of the end,” we may be able to keep right on counting them forever. (Daniel 12:4; John 17:3) To do so, of course, we must remember our Grand Creator. We must also fulfill our whole obligation to God.
How Would You Answer?
□ Why are young people urged to remember their Creator?
□ What are some Scriptural examples of those who remembered their Grand Creator?
□ What are some effects of old age described by Solomon?
□ What future is there for those who bear Jehovah in mind?
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David, the captive Israelite girl, Anna, and Simeon remembered Jehovah
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Elderly Witnesses of Jehovah joyfully render sacred service to our Grand Creator