Psalm 71:  When I am Old and Gray

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.  Psalm 71:9

The Prayer of an Old Man

 

David’s stately confession of faith in God as sovereign Lord.  Hewrote this psalm at the time of Absalom’s rebellion, perhaps as he was quartered across the Jordan, awaiting the outcome of the battle.  He speaks out of mature experience with the Lord.  He prays for help, but affirms his confidence in One he has found faithful from his youth up.  Although in danger, he will “always have hope” and will always praise God.  Despite life’s troubles, he counts on God to restore him and commits himself to a life of praise.

71:1 The theme of the psalm is stated in this verse.  On the basis of resolute trust, the psalmist asks that he never be put to shame.  Trusting in God is never foolish.

1  In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame.

71:4 The Hebrew root of deliver me means “to cause to escape”.  After asking for deliverance, the poet asserts his strong faith in God, calling Him his hope and his trust, the One who has sustained him from his birth.  He prays in faith, not allowing his circumstances to cause him to doubt the goodness of God.

4  Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

71:7 a wonder:  The poet declares that the work of God in his life has made him a special sign to the people, similar to the great miracles of God through Moses and Aaron in Egypt.

7  I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge.

 

71:14 I will hope:  The Hebrew text has an emphatic prnoun meaning “as for me,” bringing determination to the poet’s words.  The Hebrew verb translated hope describes a confident expectation that God will intervene and deliver (147:11).

14  But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.

** David’s words are not mere repetitions.  God hates mindless chanting.  David meant every words he spoke.  Thank God for even providing a prayer of an old person through David.

 

 


71 1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. 2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. 3 Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. 6 By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You. 7 I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. 8 Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. 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.” 12 O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! 13 Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. 15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. 16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. 17 O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. 19 Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? 20 You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 21 You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side. 22 Also with the lute I will praise you– And Your faithfulness, O my God! To You I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. 24 My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; For they are confounded, For they are brought to shame Who seek my hurt.