Old and Gray-Headed

The Psalmist in Psalm 71:17-18 said: “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth; And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not, Until I have declared thy strength unto the next generation, Thy might to every one that is to come.”

Solomon also said in Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw night, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” He spoke of the difficult days when the affliction and sadness burdened life; the arms and hands tremble; the legs bow down; teeth are few and the eyes grow dim; hearing is lost and the voice is softer. Death is described as the loosing of a silver cord or the golden bowl that is broken and the pitcher broken at the fountain (vss. 3,4,6). For many people, old age is often looked upon as a time of great difficulty and sometimes despair does set in. The thought is that life for all its good is over and there is nothing left to do. 

Let’s return to Psalm 71. The writer of this Psalm has the spirit of someone who has found that old age is not the end but a continuation of what he had sought to do all his life. It is a declaration of trust, praise and hope in the Lord – not an end of things. Trust is stated in vs. 1 with hope the surety of faith (vss. 5,14). The author does not express giving up but rather there is much work to be done. His faith in the Lord is as secure as a “fortress” and a “rock” and a “strong refuge”. He is oppressed by the wicked but will not allow them to destroy his faith in the blessings of Almighty God (vs. 4). The love of His Lord has guided him from his youth (vss. 5,6), and his life is a testimony of the Lord’s grace. His enemies marvel at his faith and the longevity of his trust in Jehovah. He begs that God not forsake him “in the time of old age” (vs. 9).

May we never stop living for the Lord and doing what we can. We thank God for those who are older and gray headed for your wisdom and trust you show us in the Lord. Psalm 71 is worth being read again and again.

Wayne Hatcher