4 Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah (Psalm 39:4–5, NKJV).
The circumstances of our lives can change in an instant. A dear friend was hit by a drunk driver last week. He remains in the hospital, facing a long period of recovery. Another friend had an accident yesterday and broke his neck. He survived, was rushed to surgery, and his outcome is still unknown. Illness, accidents, and death touch our lives and those we know and love practically every day. David expressed his yearning to know the quantity and end of his days. Like us, David did not know when he would die. But he wanted to know the truth about his life so he could guard himself against sin while living in hope (Ps. 39:1-3, 7-8). We yearn for the same knowledge. Like David, let us pause (Selah) and reflect on life’s uncertainty and brevity and their impact on us. (1) We are frail (v. 4). Life is fleeting. No matter how strong we are, our bodies will ultimately fail us and die. Therefore, we must lay up heavenly treasures for life beyond this flesh (2 Cor. 4:17-5:1). (2) God is the giver of life (v. 5). Life is a gift to be cherished, not squandered (Eccl. 5:18-20; James 1:17). Met us honor His will whatever life brings (Eccl. 12:13). (3) Life is short (v. 5). Our lives are brief like a vapor’s rapid disappearance (James 1:14). In comparison to God’s eternal existence, our time is “nothing” before Him. As we busy ourselves with daily activities, we must remember this life’s treasures are vain (Ps. 39:6). “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord” (Jer. 17:7).
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Psalm 92:13–15, NKJV)
Old age does not prevent bearing fruit for the Lord. When one’s life is rooted in God’s house (a Christian in His church, 1 Tim. 3:15), age does not prevent us from declaring the righteousness of God and the solid foundation of security we have in Him. When age is coupled with faith in the living God we do not lose heart, for “even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16, 17-18). There is much you can do in the kingdom as an elderly Christian. You can pray earnestly and keep your hope firmly fixed on the Lord (Psa. 71:1-14). You can rejoice in God’s salvation and worship God continually (Psa. 71:8, 22-23). Like Simeon and Anna, you can speak God’s truth to others and tell the next generation of God’s strength and mercy (Psa. 71:18-20; Lk. 2:25-32, 36-38). What a marvelous and encouraging influence older Christians have as they faithfully assemble for worship, wisely teach and counsel from God’s word, and live in the hope of eternity! Although our bodies are growing drier and weaker, our faith will be fresh and flourish as we trust the Lord and do His will each day. The legacy you will leave is a life of faith and heavenly treasures in the Lord (Matt. 6:19-21).
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. 10 For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, 11 Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.” (Psalm 71:9–11, NKJV)
How a person treats the aged exposes that person’s reverence for God. Israel was told to “rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God; I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:32). Far too many cast off the elderly when they become a burden (real or perceived). Far too many prey on the aged by leveraging their fears and anxieties against them in order to profit from their weakness. The Lord is an avenger against such wickedness. He will not forsake the aged who rely on Him. Like this psalmist, the elderly are encouraged to continue trusting in the Lord (Psa. 71:1-7). The aged deserve our honor, respect and compassion; not our impatience, insensitivity and harshness. So, respect the elderly. One day, by God’s grace, you will be aged.