Skip to main content

Connect the Testaments

May 10: Old, Wise, and Desperately in Need of God
Judges 18:1–19:30; Philippians 4:10–20; Psalm 71:1–24
Sometimes we expect that we’ll naturally grow in faith as we grow older. We tend to see elderly people as those who have been molded and shaped by life—rock-solid in their faith and untapped sources of wisdom. That, or we speed around them in the grocery aisle, blissfully disengaged with the reality that our bodies, too, will slow down and endure pain.
While the psalmist seems to express a shadow of both these perspectives in Psa 71, neither of them is complete. Adopting the point of view of an elderly person, he reflects on his life. His prayer to God shows us that maturing in faith isn’t automatic.
The elderly man is respected by others, but he doesn’t trust in the honor that some ascribe to him. He knows that Yahweh is the source of his strength, and he praises Him continually: “I have become a wonder to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, with your glory all the day” (Psa 71:7).
Perhaps forsaken or looked down on by others, he makes a request for God’s presence: “Do not cast me away in the time of old age” and “even when I am old and gray, O God, do not abandon me” (Psa 71:9, 19). He continues to request God’s nearness: “O God, do not be far from me. My God, hurry to help me” (Psa 71:12).
Perhaps most poignant is the intensity of the psalmist’s trust in God. Even in his old age, though he has “learned from birth” upon God, he can’t place his trust in his past years of faithfulness (Psa 71:6). His “praise is of [God] continually” (Psa 71:6). He also feels a responsibility to pass on the testimony of God’s works: “I will come in to tell the mighty deeds of Lord Yahweh. I will make known your righteousness, yours only” (Psa 71:16).
Maturity in faith isn’t awarded a badge after we have put in our time. It’s not an achievement. The elderly man’s prayer acts as a testimony of God’s faithfulness—past and present. The maturity of faith is something you continue to “be” and “do” and “seek.”
How do you treat the elderly people in your life? What can you learn about God from them?
Rebecca Van Noord


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Threshing Floor

A Threshing Floor
In the ancient world, farmers used threshing floors to separate grain from its inedible husk (chaff) by beating it with a flail or walking animals on it—sometimes while towing a threshing sledge. Sledges were fitted with flint teeth to dehusk the grain more quickly. Other workers would turn the grain over so that it would be evenly threshed by the sledge.

The International Sunday School Lesson

Lesson for May 28, 2017: Pervasive Love (Jonah 4)
Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of theInternationalSunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri. This lesson treatment is published in the May 21, 2017, issue of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com. ______ By Mark Scott  God’s love is pervasive (expanding, spreading, and permeating). Jonah’s love was narrow, miserly, and shrunken. The angry prophet desperately needed to get on the same page with the Lord when it came to his wide embrace of all people. That is the story of Jonah 4. Last week’s lesson dealt with forgiveness. Jonah could announce the forgiveness of God—but he could not live it. Lewis Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner was you.” Anger and Pervasive Love |Jonah 4:1-4 Is there room for anger when love pervades? In Jonah’s heart love had not pervaded. Jonah had anger issues.