Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 16:31: “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.”
The aging process can be described in the color of one’s hair, either silver or gray. To live long enough that one is “silver-haired” signifies a life long enough to see children grow up and have their own children. Only those who live long enough to experience this can understand what this means. “Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6). No one can enjoy life more than a grandparent! Imagine the thrill when Joseph’s brothers told their father of Joseph’s promise, “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have” (Genesis 45:10, verses 1-10). How awful to learn how some squander the future of their offspring, as the first Samaritans did: “So these nations feared the LORD, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day” (2 Kings 17:41, verses 1-41). Grandparents who fail to exercise their wisdom of years (and of the Word of God!) can leave their children’s children in worse woe than they ever thought there was! To the Jews who abandoned God’s Way for their own, God decreed, “’Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,’ says the LORD, ‘And against your children’s children I will bring charges’” (Jeremiah 2:9). People can ruin the future of grandchildren just by the way they fail or refuse to apply God’s Wisdom to their lives!
The key of our proverb is to age by following “the way of righteousness,” which is a greater treasure in life than silver or gold (Proverbs 8:19-21). Today the only wise way is through Jesus Christ, who said, “whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man” (Matthew 7:24). As we age, we will lose the strength of youth, but we should replace that with strength of character, faith, hope, and love. “The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head” (Proverbs 20:29). Children (and grandchildren!) should be taught to respect people of age, for both the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ make this rule: “’You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32); “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
As certain of our own Poets has said: “Old Years and New” by Edgar Guest
Old years and new years, all blended into one,
The best of what there is to be, the best of what is gone–
Let’s bury all the failures in the dim and dusty past
And keep the smiles of friendship and laughter to the last.
Old years and new years, life’s in the making still;
We haven’t come to glory yet, but there’s the hope we will;
The dead old year was twelve months long, but now from it we’re free,
And what’s one year of good or bad to all the years to be?
Old years and new years, we need them one and all
To reach the dome of character and build its sheltering wall;
Past failures tried the souls of us, but if their tests we stood.
The sum of what we are to be may yet be counted good.
Old years and new years, with all their pain and strife,
Are but the bricks and steel and stone with which we fashion life;
So put the sin and shame away, and keep the fine and true,
And on the glory of the past let’s build the better new.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.