Maybe it is because I celebrated another birthday last week, but I could relate to Psalm 71 this morning. Not the part about enemies trying to destroy the author, but that God would be with him even in old age, even when his hairs are turning gray. That is the part I related to. It was interesting to read this Psalm on the heals of 2 Samuel 16-for David, in what I assume is his old age, is fleeing from his son Absalom. In today’s reading he has to endure the abuse of one of Saul’s family members, Shimei, who follows David cursing and throwing rocks at him. It is interesting to me that David keeps his men from harming Shimei, that he makes it clear that it is a matter for God to deal with, even considers that Shimei’s words have been given him by God-God sent this man to curse him! What a low point David must be in-and yet he trusts God steadfastly.
So when I came to Psalm 71 I thought it interesting that it seemed to be written when David was old, with graying hair, it made me wonder if perhaps it was written during this time when he was on the run from Absalom. Like David, I have known the Lord since my youth. I too have seen many troubles and calamaties and been safely delivered by God through every one. From my youth I have learned that God is my faithful, trustworthy, Father…the Lord is my Rock and my Redeemer. He is the strength of my days. So as may hairs begin to turn gray, as my body begins to lose its youthful vibrance, I want to leave behind a legacy that shines the Gospel light on future generations. I want to echo David’s prayer as I make it my own this morning. I often take the Psalms and rewrite them to fit how I am feeling-so the following is a mix of David’s words and my own based upon Psalm 71.
In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
By You I have been sustained from my birth;
you are He who took me from my mother’s womb;
My praise is continually of you.
I have become a marvel to many,
for You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Your praise
and with Your glory all day long.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
do not forsake me when my strength fails.
O God, be not far from me;
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,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
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.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
I will also praise you
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you
O Most Holy One.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And I will speak of your righteous help all the day long.
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,