# 223 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 71. The voice of experience.

Billy Graham (1918-2018) wrote a book in his 90’s called Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. In it he states that old age “is not for sissies” (a derogatory name for someone who seems weak or cowardly). In his book he also says, “I never thought I would live to be this old. All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die. I wish they had, because I am an old man now, and believe me, it’s not easy.”

He continues, “While the Bible doesn’t gloss over the problems we face as we grow older, neither does it paint old age as a time to be despised or a burden to be endured with gritted teeth (if we still have any). Nor does it picture us in our latter years as useless and ineffective…Instead the Bible says that God has a reason for keeping us here.”

( https://www.christianpost.com/news/billy-graham-turns-93-shares-wisdom-on-old-age.html )

Our psalm today seems to have been written by an aging psalmist (probably David, although the author is not mentioned). Note the following verses:

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb…
Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone…
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and grey,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

So, at what age does one get “old”? As a child in school, I thought that all my teachers (who were probably in their 20s or 30s) were all “old”! I have read that generally adults between the ages of 30 and 49 think old age begins at 69. People who are currently 50-64 believe old age starts at 72. Then those who are 65 and older say old age begins at 74.

I once heard the story of a 95-year-old lady saying she wouldn’t mind being 80 again!

No matter what age you are, the most important thing is knowing your Creator, as the psalmist did. He could look back over his life and acknowledge that you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth and since my youth, God, you have taught me.

What a wonderful thing to look back and reflect upon the way God has guided, blessed, disciplined and taught us over the many years of our lives. For me that has been over 69 years. Although I didn’t know Jesus as my Saviour and Lord until I was 19, I have no doubt about his intervention in my life before that time. And since then, I, like the psalmist, delight in proclaiming His greatness. He writes:

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 marvellous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and grey,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

 How very wonderful is the truth that:

 19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?

The prophet Micah, later in history would say the same thing when he wrote:

 18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives [our] transgression…
    You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us…
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago.                              (Micah 7:18-20)

Yes, Father, there is no God like you. The God who is righteous, the God of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, faithfulness and amazing love. What a privilege it has been to know you for so many years. Enable me, even in my old age, to proclaim your greatness and power to the next generations.  Amen.

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