19 February 2001

"Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not;"-Psalm71:18a We take our text today from the 71st division of the Psalms, referred to by many as "The Prayer of the Aged Believer". Much is said today about the youth, yet, in the midst of tutoring our young we can make the grave mistake of forgetting the backbone of our churches, those faithful ones who have witnessed many seasons in God's house: the "old and grayheaded." It seems to be a universal thought among the young that the hoary head has it all together, they have no problems; no struggles; no worries; no fears; and no confusion of face. Yet, the psalmist presets to us the truth of the matter: when natural strength is waning, when the nest is empty, when pipe dreams are past, when the looking glass is less kind to features, when friends are dispersed into their various places, when many loved ones have passed on to the other shore, the companionship of God is needed more than ever. Yes, companionship is the psalmist most urgent cry: "Forsake me not". Many are the companions of youth, yet to the aged, their own dwelling place can seem like a prison. Poor health and lack of strength are the bars and loneliness is the warden. Only He that dwelleth between the cherubims can fill the aching void. Apparently, the psalmist had been in this prison and his pen exposes many keys of comfort to unlock the chamber of loneliness. The first verse discovers a great trap that Satan will set for the aged believer and the psalmist petitions Jehovah for deliverance from its snare: "Let me never be put to confusion". Surely, it is confusion to think that God has forsaken His beloved child. As one old preacher said, "This is the sharpest arrow in Satan's quiver". What could be worse, especially for the aged believer. Yet, it is a common experience for every age. Our Lord experienced the shaft as he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" His disciples experience it. Yet, as the old preacher went on to say, "That, my friends, is a barefaced lie". The promise to his chosen is, "I will never leave the, nor forsake thee"-Heb. 13:5. God's never is NEVER, even in old age. The word hope is mentioned twice in the psalm. Hope is the balm of Gilead to the aged believer. Hope is the expectation and anticipation of a promise made. It was hope in the bosom of Abraham that gave him strength to continue as a stranger and a pilgrim in his wilderness wanderings as he "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Though still in the wilderness, his eye anticipated a better place. This psalm is pregnant with prayer and praise. These are the themes of a jail cell. Consider Paul and Silas. Even the aged believer can forget to feed his own soul. And finally, the eye is turned from inward affliction to outward testimony: "until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come". God's honor and Zion's future became the psalmist's most urgent plea. The outward testimony of the aged believer is an encouragement to all, sure evidence of God's faithfulness and His power to uphold us, even in old age. Today, we encourage the aged in our churches and say, "Thank you for your faithfulness". Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor