Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Psalm for the Aged

You are to rise in the presence of the elderly and honor the old. Fear your God; I am the LORD”…  Leviticus. 19:32 HCSB

This coming Sunday is Senior Adult Sunday and we will be honoring the senior adults in our congregation.  I want to take some time these next two days to talk about senior adults in our lives. 

We live in a culture that promotes youthfulness and denigrates the elderly.  The Bible calls us instead to honor the aged.  Did you know that there’s a passage of Scripture that’s referred to as a “psalm for the aged?”  It is Psalm 71.  We’re not entirely certain who wrote these words but many believe it was David in the latter years of his life.  Verse 9 says “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” He’s older now and weaker and yet he’s holding on to hope in verse 14: “But as for me, I will always have hope, I will praise you more and more.”  verses 17-18: “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

David recounts what God has done in the past: You have taught me.” He then describes the present: “To this day I declare your marvelous deeds.” And he looks out into the future: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me.” His overriding concern is that he wants to live long enough to “declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

Do you see the stages of life here?  He remembers his youth, then describes middle age and looks ahead to the golden years.  David is declaring God’s deeds and his desire is to proclaim God’s power to the next generation.  If you’ve witnessed the wonder and works of God then proclaim God’s power to those who don’t know and do it with a sense of life-and-death urgency.

Before passing on, make sure you pass it on by leaving a legacy.
David is declaring God’s marvelous deeds, His power, and His might to generation next. Because he knows he is going to pass on, he’s determined to pass along God’s actions and God’s attributes.  That’s exactly what we should be doing with intentional urgency – declaring who God is and all that He has done.

Psalm 9:1 says: “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders” and Psalm 26:7 encourages us to not be quiet about it: “proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” In Psalm 66:16 we see how purposeful and personal this must be: “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

Old age does not provide an “out” for David, nor does gray hair disqualify him. Actually, it’s just the opposite because the older we get the greater the urgency we should feel to intentionally impact the next generation.  Look back to our text in Psalm 71:18 where we see that David’s concern is that God not forget or forsake him.

God is greatly committed to those in their golden years as stated in Isaiah 46:4: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Gray hair is a great honor according to Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” and Proverbs 20:29, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”

If you are a senior adult, you have so much wisdom to pass on to the next generations.  Don’t deny them your valuable gift of life experience.  Have you done everything you can do in your family to declare God’s deeds to the next generation?  What plan do you have to do this?  Tell stories of your youth.  Make recordings of your voice for your family.  They will treasure these things one day.  Do not let time get away from you.  God has given you a gift and He wants you to pass it on.  If you’re still alive it’s not too late to leave a legacy. Before passing on, make sure you pass it on by leaving a legacy.  Be a legacy leaver!

Scripture to Claim:
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Psalm 78:4-6:

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