Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say…
I. AN EARLY RECOGNITION OF GOD WILL BECOME THE FORMATIVE PRINCIPLE OF CHARACTER. The formation of character is the true business of life. Character is the individual, the man himself. No one can be greater than his character, and no one can be less. At the centre of character there is always a governing principle. This may be one thing or another — may be a remembrance of God or a regard for the devil, may be a holy resolution or a weak sentiment. Still, it is there, and it is influential. It resembles the point of crystallization around which cluster the strange forms and colours of Nature's workmanship. Character will surely be determined by this central principle or supreme choice. Now, to "remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth" is to yield to God as He appears in Jesus Christ, or to become a Christian. This surrender enthrones God at the very centre of character. His word then becomes law. The holy life of His Son, our Redeemer, holds the attention. The formation of character proceeds as we "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
II. CHILDHOOD'S REMEMBRANCE OF GOD BECOMES THE PERPETUAL RECOMPENSE OF SERVICE. We must bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. He "went about doing good." He "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Simple fidelities engaged Him. An hour of communion with His Father prepared Him for any conflict, and He often looked up into His Father's face to gain new inspiration when He was weary or troubled. The possibility of this consciousness is the promise of the Bible. Again and again we are assured that God is interested in us. He wants to help us. He offers the confidence which Jesus knew. Now, if we can secure this confidence early in life, we shall be stronger and braver than we could otherwise be, for in every honest service we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that God is pleased. We may train ourselves to "do all to the glory of God." If we undertake any service, we may perform it as unto Him, and net as unto our fellow-men; if we make a contribution of money, we may present it first of all to Him, and may then act as His stewards in its distribution; if we contemplate a new work, we may consult Him in prayer; if we are burdened with care, we may cast our care upon Him. At once there opens before us many rare privileges. Life with God in it moves safely.
III. THE SECURE HOPE OF SORROW AND OF DEATH IS OBTAINED WHEN THE CREATOR IS REMEMBERED. "Hope thou in God" is the psalmist's exhortation. "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost," is the benediction of Paul. God is the God of hope. What a blessed truth that is! He meets us with hope, and He continues to afford hope even to the end of life. When sorrows come we are not shut up to the conviction that we are the victims of fate. There is an "afterward" to every chastisement, with "peaceable fruit of righteousness." The end has not been reached. We are still at school. God is dealing with us as with sons. We shall bless Him by and by for life's discipline. Meanwhile, He sustains and comforts us to such a degree that a man has even been known to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted." God is with us. We shall surely reach port. We hope, in Him. And when we approach death, who but God can afford hope?
(H. M. Booth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;