Summary: The Bible honors both the old and the young. God sees great potential in both, and He has used both marvelously time and time again to accomplish His will in history.

A Sunday school teacher was telling her class of girls about how

the children of Israel carried things out of Egypt, and of how the

children of Israel carried the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and of

how the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and of how the

children of Israel built the temple. Finally one little girl interrupted

and asked, "Didn't the parents ever do anything in the Old

Testament?" We all know, of course that the parents were called

children because all of God's people are called children. One of the

things we know about children is that they tend to have conflict, and

this is often the case between the elder children called adults, and

the younger children called youth.

The battle of the ages has been a battle through the ages. The

one thing we know for sure about the younger generation is that it

will grow up to worry and complain about the younger generation.

This has been the case ever since Adam and Eve saw their children

going to the dogs. Ancient Assyrian tablets tell of the problems of

society with youth. Ancient Greeks complained about youths bad

manners and contempt for authority. A record from 450 B.C. says,

"Children are now tyrants and not servants of the household. They

no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their

parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize

their teachers."

Peter the monk wrote in 1274 A.D., "The world is passing

through troubled times. The young people of today think of nothing

but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age.

They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew

everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with

them." The poet has captured the whole history of adult and youth

relationships in these few lines-

My granddad, viewing earth's warm cogs,

Said things were going to the dogs;

His granddad in his house of logs

Swore things were going to the dogs;

His granddad in the Flemish bogs

Vowed things were going to the dogs;

His granddad in his old skin togs

Said thing were going to the dogs.

It is little wonder that man has not progressed morally and

spiritually with such a persistent pessimistic philosophy hanging

over the heads of every generation. A young person usually rises no

higher than the level of adult expectation, and as long as adults

expect them to go to the dogs many youth will remain slaves to their

mere animal nature. Since today's adults were yesterday's dogs we

could hardly expect things to be any different. This is why man can

never find a solution to his folly apart from the Gospel of Christ,

which can change human nature and send it climbing heavenward

rather than downward to the dogs. Man's natural tendency is

downward, and unless there is some factor introduced into his

nature, which is not available through any natural source, he can

never escape the vicious cycle of wasting his youth like a fool, and

then condemning the next generation for not seeing that they also

are being fools.

Many non-Christians recognize the follies of their youth, and

they are concerned that their children do not make the same

mistakes, but it is usually a futile effort. Some having tried

everything but Jesus have become total pessimists. W. H. Ireland,

for example, wrote,

All the world's a mass of folly,

Youth is gay, age melancholy;

Youth is spending, age is thrifty,

Mad at twenty, cold at fifty;

Man is naught but folly's slave,

From the cradle to the grave.

Most do not see things quite so dark as this, however, but they see

the world as at least half hopeless. Adults think that hopeless half is

the youth, and the youth think it is the adults. Christians ought to be

able to rise above this limited vision and see that though people of all

ages can be fools, so also people of all ages can be wise and saintly.

The Scripture says that your old men shall dream dreams and your

young men shall see visions. The ideal is when youth and adults are

one in their relationship to God and in receiving His revelation.

The Bible honors both the old and the young. God sees great

potential in both, and He has used both marvelously time and time

again to accomplish His will in history. You have the infant Moses,

the child Samuel, the teenage Joseph, the young man Daniel, the

middle age King David, and old Methuselah. From the cradle to the

grave all people are potential pearls in the treasure chest of God's

purpose. The Christian can see youth going to the dogs as has every

other generation, but he can also see that by the grace of God those

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