Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Testimony In Old Age

Psalm 71:1-24

“In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.  Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.  Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.  Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.  For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” (Psalm 71:1-5)

This Psalm was written late in David’s life, possibly about the time of Absalom’s attempt to usurp the Kingdom.   David had been trusting in god for years. And he no longer panicked when things seemed to be going the wrong way.  He asks that he never experience the confusion and panic he had felt before.  He asks that God deliver him in God’s righteousness, helping him escape the cruel and wicked people. 

“By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.  I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.  Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.  Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.  For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.  O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.  Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.” (Psalm 71:6-13)

David was aware that God had protected and cared for him from the time he was born.  Other people were amazed that the still praised God, but he knew God was still protecting him.  Younger people looked at him, seeing the results of old age and concluded that God had forgotten him and that they could now take advantage of him.   Many times scams artists and burglars target older people in the belief they will be easier to take advantage of.  He asks that God prevent that from happening, and that those who tried be embarrassed by their actions. 

“But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.  My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.  I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” (Psalm 71:14-16)

He was committed to continue trusting in God and praising him just as he had in the past.  He had no idea how long he would live but he was determined to serve God, as long as he lived, depending on God for the strength, and publicizing what God had done for him. 

“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.  Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalm 71:17-18)

Many older Christians become depressed over declining health and loss of friends and relatives.  The depression and bitterness turns others away from God.  David asks that he not fall into that attitude, but that he would be able to be a testimony an encouragement to the next generation and  for those who would be born in the future. 

“Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!   Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.” (Psalm 71:19-21)

Remembering what God had done for him gave David assurance he would continue to act on his behalf.  He had been through great emotional stress in the past, and God had delivered him, and expected God to prevent it turning to depression so that he didn’t feel like he had lost everything.  God would give him comfort, and might well set him in place of prominence again.    His life was not over.  God still had a purpose for him. 

“I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.  My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.  My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.” (Psalm 71:22-24)

When we realize God has a purpose in our life, even when our body is no longer to do the things we once did, we have reason to look forward to every day.  Like David we can praise God for the things that happen and have happened to us.     

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