Age or Wisdom?

Generational Tension

Within each generation there exists a degree of tension both with the generation before them and the one to come. It is common for one generation to have concern over the choices of the next, believing them to be acting foolishly. Sometimes this concern is founded; sometimes it is just a difference of opinion.

There are examples of a younger generation forgoing the stated wisdom of those who are older and more experienced, to their determent. One such example is Solomon’s son Rehoboam, who lost half of his kingdom by totally ignoring the very realistic advice of the elders who had served Solomon (1 Kings 12). This youthful arrogance in light of true wisdom, with its basis in what God had provided to Solomon, had the expected end result – great damage to the people of Israel.

Who is At Fault?

With such examples one might assume that it is the younger generation that is always at fault in such breakdowns. Ignoring the sage advice of one’s elders always leads to destruction, as the Proverbs warn numerous times. However, all the faults of the word do not rest solely upon younger people.

Failure of instruction

Consider scenarios where the older generation fails to instruct the younger generation, as was commanded by both the Law of Moses (ex. Deu. 4:10) and the New Testament (ex. 2 Tim. 2:2,3). It is the responsibility of the current generation to teach the next, and when that responsibility is not met, the cause does not rest alone with the young.

Failure to share true wisdom

Consider also the source of such wisdom. It is easy to conflate life experience with God-given wisdom, but the two are not one and the same. Life experience can add color and insight into certain choices, but only God-given wisdom can provide real enlightenment. If this were not the case, then how can any Christian teach moral virtue to a world when we may not have experienced the sin which is committed?

A Problem For All

The reality is that we should respect our elders for their experience and time in service to God. However, this does not automatically mean that the young will be taught of God. Nor does it mean that just because someone has lived a number of years that they have the wisdom of God.

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