Perhaps the most elusive quality in all of life is balance. We are creatures of extremes. Action and reaction, polarization and wild oscillation mark most of us. But Scripture is always balanced. Its goal is to form balanced believers. Balance in our personal lives, our work lives, our education, our handling of truth, and the stewardship of our time are only some of the areas in which we struggle with this concept.
But God is balanced, His Word is balanced, and it is meant to balance us. Scripture frequently displays balance within an epistle or within a section. In 1 Kings 12 and 13, the balance occurs in back to back chapters. In chapter 12, Rehoboam consults with older advisers in regard to the request of the people for relief from his father Solomon’s burdensome taxation. Their counsel, while wise, is rejected, not fitting in with Rehoboam’s own agenda. He turns instead to the younger men, his contemporaries, and accepts their advice. The result was a divided nation which never was healed from the tragic split. If we only had 1 Kings 12, we might think that all wisdom resides in gray heads. The counsel of the old men was wise and would have averted the rebellion of the 10 tribes. The counsel of the younger men merely played to Rehoboam’s own greed.
But 1 Kings 13 balances that thought, for now it is the old prophet at Bethel whose falsehood and deceit lead the young prophet astray. Here was one young man who would have been far better to have never listened to the words of an old gray-headed prophet.
This issue of Truth & Tidings contains three articles which address the issue of succession in leadership in God’s assembly. The need to address this in each assembly is crucial and upon its wise handling hinges the welfare and prosperity of the assembly. We ignore it to our detriment.
There is the danger of thinking that all wisdom resides beneath gray heads (or bald heads). While the value of experience cannot be understated, age itself is no guarantee of wisdom. Some, likewise, think that younger men are rash and lack wisdom, and are unfit for leadership. Neither is true and neither is false. Solomon reminded us of the disaster that an old and foolish king could cause (Eccl 4:13). So age itself is no guarantee of wisdom. Many who are younger and who have learned the fear of God, Solomon’s prerequisite for wisdom, are suitable for grooming for leadership. Wisdom resides in knowing God and having been educated in the school which He controls.
Balance within an individual comes from knowing God and matriculating in His academy; balance within an oversight comes from men of different ages and different temperaments being brought together to work with the common goal of the welfare of God’s people. Older men, wisely bringing younger men along to share the responsibility and vision which they have for the assembly is God’s ideal.