Psalm 71:18 ‘Yea, even when I am old and gray-headed, forsake me not.’

May 6, 2018 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

Psalm 71:18 ‘Yea, even when I am old and gray-headed, forsake me not.’

This is a glorious example of a child of God praying the promises of God; something of which we should each take personal note. The bottom line, to put it that way, of all of our praying—as exemplified by our Lord and Savior—should always be, ‘thy will be done.’ And how could that summation possibly be satisfied any better than it is when we pray God’s very own promises back to Him? God’s own promises are, of course, one of the greatest and most valid expressions of His will, if not the greatest. How wonderfully enlarged ought to be our confidence by employing this practice? We are enjoined in Scripture to draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace. Our boldness could hardly ever be stronger than when we ,draw near to ask of our God the very things that He Himself has promised.

Therefore, with reference to this week’s focus passage; this prayer, which may, or may not be, from the heart of David, that God would not forsake him even when I am old and gray-headed, we would inquire, whether or not, he is praying back a promise of Jehovah to His people, and therefore to David? Let us search for, and hopefully find, such promises to old age.

One of the first, if not the first, usages of the term, or expression, ‘old age’ is found in virtually every English translation of the Scriptures; particularly, we would note, in those translations most familiar to us, namely the King James; the New King James, the American Standard, and the New American Standard, along with even the New International Version, is found in Genesis 15:15, where the context is the covenant, for verse 18 states clearly, In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abraham. Contained in this context and a part of that promise is verse 15, Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. Noteworthy, although not demonstrably relevant, is the fact that the first reference to old age is in a covenantal context. We read, in Galatians 3:8-9, that he who is considered to be the ‘father of the faithful’ that these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, a hundred threescore and fifteen years. And Abraham gave up the ghost, and die in a good old age, an old man, and full of years.

In like manner, David prayed in Psalm 71:9, 18;

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth….Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not. Was he not praying back the promise; the covenant promise; that he had received through the mouth of the prophet Nathan, and was recorded in 2 Samuel 7:11-12?

Moreover Jehovah telleth thee that Jehovah will make thee a house. When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

Jehovah indeed did not cast David off, nor forsake him, as his years advanced. In fact, even in the face of his terrible sin, God gave David the son of His covenant promise, even Solomon, the seed after him that shall proceed out of his own bowels.

The Davidic line was thus continued unto the birth of the greater son of David, yea, the very Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, fulfilling the ‘greater’ part of the promise given David, and I will establish his kingdom. This greater Son subsequently called His first hearers to go forth; to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He likewise sent His apostles out, in Matthew 10, with the very same message, And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.—vs. 7. The King is here; the kingdom has come; He will build His house. We witness the ‘old and grayheaded’ king David placing the crown upon the head of his son and successor Solomon, in 1 Kings 1:38-40.

We have every warrant to pray unto our God, and even employing the words of the psalmist, trusting that ‘thy will be done,’ as we utter those words in His ear, Cast me not off in the time of old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth.

No more than the inspired psalmist, whether David or not, do we wish to be set upon a shelf in our old age. The usual course of biological events, of course, makes likely that as our years progress, so our strength diminishes. All the more reason to continue to pray, Forsake me not when my strength faileth; pray, and leave the consequences to God to determine. Thy will be done. If it please Him to continue us in strength of mind and body sufficient; we may continue to serve Him as He directs. This is not a ‘pipe dream,’ nor is it a wild imagining. What God has done in the past, He is well able to do today and in the future as long as He pleases. Remember the case of Moses.

So Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Jehovah. And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-Peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.—Deuteronomy 34:5-7.

If God is pleased to use us for His own glory, He is well able to grant to us the desire and the strength of body and mind for as long as He wishes. The passage above is not speaking of the era of antediluvians living as long as Methuselah, but of a generation well past that time. God can do as He wishes. It is His kingdom.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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