"My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day."
~ Psalm 71:8
I am not yet an old man, yet many decades have passed. My lifetime has elapsed quickly yet it has been long drawn out. I have seen much yet have experienced little. The scales have tipped so that I have now been a believer longer than I have been an unbeliever. I have clung to hope and feared being forsaken. I have had trouble and calamity and have found refuge in the LORD. I have had enemies and accusers and been comforted by the redeemed.
Psalm 71 may be a “mid-life crisis” psalm. This psalmist, like so many others, cries out to God for rescue, deliverance, shelter and salvation (v.1-3). He laments the wickedness and injustice of the world, desiring the righteousness of God (v.4,12-13). He reflects upon the continual faithfulness of God in which he hopes and trusts; acknowledging his dependence upon God from before his birth (v.5-6). His growth in faith relationship with the LORD is evidenced, but as this writer considers the decades ahead, he fears being forsaken and being unfaithful (v.9,18).
This psalmist knows the heart of man, he knows his own heart. He confesses his need of help to be faithful, to maintain his hope in God, to praise him more and more (v.12,14,22-24). His desire is to tell of God in all his righteous acts, his deeds of salvation, his wondrous deeds of might and power (v.15-17). He acknowledges his desire and responsibility to proclaim to the next generation that there is none like God the LORD (v.18-19).
Many, as they get older, fear being forsaken, forgotten and having no purpose. This psalmist requests of God that this not be so. He seeks to be intentional in the years approaching “old age and gray hairs” (v.18), when “strength is spent” (v.9). He makes his aim/purpose/occupation to be increasing in trust and praise of God, pointing others to the resurrection to come (v.20-21).
Whether you are newly “taken from the womb”, middle-aged or “old and gray”, God’s faithfulness and righteousness has never faltered, faded or failed. May we all together, from young to old, from generation to generation, hope continually in God, praising him more and more in talk and song and shout.