What a Drag It Is Getting Old

Old Age is to be hated, avoided,and never talked about.  That is the attitude that western society has promoted ascommercialism tries to push anti-aging cremes, youth-maintaining workouts, and psychological self-help pathways to eternal youth.  Of course, there are some benefits to being fit and healthy in mind, body and spirit.  However, there are some things, like wisdom, that can only come through age and experience. 

I have a friend Marcus who was ridiculed by a teen fan of the Twilight series when he wrote a poor review on his blog.  He was called out of touch, aging, and balding.  Apart from having a full head of hair, I think he was 28 at the time.    Youth can be so egocentric that they think no-one has been through struggles like themselves.  If you read this psalm carefully, you will see how the benefits of staying close to God as we age were the same in the psalmist’s day as now.

Psalm 71

1 In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
   turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
   to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

 5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
   my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
   you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
   I will ever praise you.
7 I have become a sign to many;
   you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
   declaring your splendor all day long.

 9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
   do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
   those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
   pursue him and seize him,
   for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
   come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
   may those who want to harm me
   be covered with scorn and disgrace.

 14 As for me, I will always have hope;
   I will praise you more and more.

 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
   of your saving acts all day long—
   though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD;
   I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
   and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
   do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
   your mighty acts to all who are to come.

 19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
   you who have done great things.
   Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
   many and bitter,
   you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
   you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
   and comfort me once more.

 22 I will praise you with the harp
   for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
   Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
   when I sing praise to you—
   I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
   all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
   have been put to shame and confusion.

Questions

  1. When does the psalmist not want to be cast away?
  2. When will the psalmist have hope?
  3. What comes after bitter troubles?
  4. How has this year changed you?
  5. How is God making the aging process something positive for you?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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