‘So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.’
Perhaps it’s a sign of my own age, but I am increasingly drawn to David’s psalms written nearer the end of his life. Take Psalm 71, the psalm set for this morning’s Office, for example:
David is in trouble, again! BIG Trouble, YET again!
This is not some minor crisis but one that has emboldened his enemies, leading them to say, ‘God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.’
So, what does David do in such circumstances? Exactly what he has done in every previous crisis; he cries out for God’s protection (‘In you, O LORD, do I take refuge….Be to me a rock of refuge….. O God, be not far from me…) and for God’s intervention (‘In your righteousness deliver and rescue me….Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked…. O my God, make haste to help me!).
And why is David confident that God will provide him such protection and such intervention? Because he remembers how God has been so present and so powerful in his life during all the other times of crises.
He reminds himself that ‘upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb’ (v6); and then resolves to do what he has always done: ‘But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day…. I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone’ (v14-16).
This remembrance of God’s gracious interventions in his own past leads David to boldly ask, ‘So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, UNTIL I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come’ (v18).
David has a message to proclaim to those who are younger than he; and what is that message? ‘You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again’ (v20).
David yearns to tell those who have yet to go through their own ‘troubles and calamities’, how God has been faithful and gracious and powerful to bring him through his!
What a wonderful longing this is!
If you are like me, racing ‘even to old age and gray hairs’, I would encourage you to take some time to remember the faithfulness of God in your life. Take some time and recall God’s ‘mighty deeds’ on your behalf. And then pray for the chance to encourage someone from a younger generation.
If you are among that ‘other generation’ (and perhaps going through a crisis of your own!), why not ask God to raise up for you a trusted mentor, one who can encourage you by sharing with you what they have learned of the faithfulness of God in the midst of ‘troubles and calamities’.
It seems to me, that this is the way God has designed his Body to work!‘