Solomon has said, "The beauty of old men is the grey head" (Proverbs 20:29
). But he tells also of a nobler beauty, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31
). Old men are few, but godly old men are fewer still. Rarity signalizes the "beauty," and enhances the "glory." This psalm may well be called, "The Old Man's Psalm." Would that the portrait were more common! It is pleasant to look at in poetry; it is far more delightful to behold in fact. In this portrait of a godly old man, we may mark -
I. HIS SUBLIME FAITH." In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust" (ver. 1). Here is the secret of his character. "Trust" gave strength to his heart, and unity and completeness to his life. In this he was in sympathy with others who had gone before (cf. Psalm 31:1-3).
II. HIS EARNEST PRAYERS. The godly are ever given to prayer. It is their great resource. It is the never failing means of obtaining mercy and grace. They learnt to call upon God at their mother's knee (cf. Psalm 116:16; 2 Timothy 1:5), and all through life they have found the virtue and the blessedness of prayer. In old age the cry of the godly is, "I must pray more."
III. HIS VARIED EXPERIENCES. Often, when looking back, there is dimness, or many things have fallen out of sight, or there is a confusion in the perspective; but events that have made a deep impression stand out clearly. Memory goes back to the time of youth, and traces life onward, with all the great changes, the dangers and adventures, the attempts and the achievements, the joys and sorrows. There are grateful recollections of kindness and help from many; but above all, there is praise to God for his goodness and wonderful works (vers. 5, 6; cf. Isaiah 44:4).
IV. HIS SETTLED CONVICTIONS. Experience is a great teacher. The man who has seen many days has learned much, and is able to bear witness as one that speaketh with authority (Job 32:7; Leviticus 19:32; 2 Peter 1:13). One thing that the godly old man testifies is that God is worthy of trust; another thing is that the Word of God is not a cunningly devised fable, but truth; another thing is that religion is not a delusion, but a reality - the power of God unto salvation; another thing is that the most pleasant memories are of loyalty to God, and of good done to men, even to enemies, and that the saddest thoughts are of times when self prevailed over love and duty, and opportunities were lost from neglect and sloth.
V. HIS UNFALTERING RESOLUTION. The old have their regrets. They have also their times of trial and weakness. In another place the psalmist says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken" (Psalm 37:25), and yet here he seems just for a moment to falter; but if he trembles at the thought of being a "castaway," as Paul also did (1 Corinthians 9:27), he renews his strength by prayer (vers. 17, 20). Then having gained courage, he pledges himself with fresh ardour to be true to God. Instead of wavering, he will press on. Instead of keeping silence, he will testify, by word and deed, to the strength and power of God. This was beautifully seen in Polycarp, "Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never wronged me; and shall I forsake my God and my Saviour?"
VI. HIS GLORIOUS PROSPECTS. For the old the end is near. They know that soon they must die, and have no more to do with anything under the sun. This seems a dismal condition. But for the godly there is not only hope in death, but the bright prospect of a blessed immortality. "The end of that man is peace," yea, more, far more, the future is glorious. - W.F.
I am as a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge.
Consider the text, with reference to David, to Christ, and to the Christian.
TopicsMarvel, Portent, Refuge, Strong, Tower, Wonder
Outline1. David, in confidence of faith, and experience of God's favor, prays both for himself, 10. and against the enemies of his soul14. He promises constancy17. He prays for perseverance19. He praises God, and promises to do it cheerfully
Dictionary of Bible ThemesPsalm 71:5-7
8215 confidence, results
LibraryDecember 22. "My Tongue Also Shall Talk of Thy Righteousness all the Day Long" (Ps. Lxxi. 24).
"My tongue also shall talk of Thy righteousness all the day long" (Ps. lxxi. 24). It is a simple law of nature, that air always comes in to fill a vacuum. You can produce a draught at any time, by heating the air until it ascends, and then the cold air rushes in to supply its place. And so we can always be filled with the Holy Spirit by providing a vacuum. This breath is dependent upon exhausting the previous breath before you can inhale a fresh one. And so we must empty our hearts of the last breath …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
More and More
David had not been slack in praise: indeed, he was a sweet singer in Israel, a very choir-master unto the Lord yet he vowed to praise him more and more. Those who do much already, are usually the people who can do more. He was old. Would he praise God more when he was infirm than he had done when he was young and vigorous? If he could not excel with loudness of voice, yet would he with eagerness of heart; and what his praise might lack in sound, it should gain in solemn earnestness. He was in trouble …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871
Of Four Things which Bring Great Peace
"My Son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true liberty." 2. Do, O my Lord, as Thou sayest, for this is pleasing unto me to hear. 3. "Strive, My Son, to do another's will rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always after the lowest place, and to be subject to all. Wish always and pray that the will of God be fulfilled in thee. Behold, such a man as this entereth into the inheritance of peace and quietness." 4. O my Lord, this Thy short discourse …
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ
Of the Day of Eternity and of the Straitnesses of this Life
Oh most blessed mansion of the City which is above! Oh most clear day of eternity which the night obscureth not, but the Supreme Truth ever enlighteneth! Day always joyful, always secure and never changing its state into those which are contrary. Oh would that this day might shine forth, and that all these temporal things would come to an end. It shineth indeed upon the Saints, glowing with unending brightness, but only from afar and through a glass, upon those who are pilgrims on the earth. …
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ
For Old Age. --Ps. Lxxi.
For Old Age.--Ps. lxxi. Lord, I have put my trust in Thee, Turn not my confidence to shame; Thy promise is a rock to me, A tower of refuge is Thy name. Thou hast upheld me from the womb; Thou wert my strength and hope in youth; Now trembling, bending o'er the tomb, I lean upon Thine arm of truth. Though I have long outlived my peers, And stand amid the world alone, (A stranger left by former years), I know my God,--by Him am known. Cast me not off in mine old age, Forsake me not in my last hour; …
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns
They all Hold Swords, Being Expert in War; Every Man Hath his Sword Upon his Thigh Because of Fear in the Night.
They all hold swords to engage in combat with the soul which, by a secret presumption, attributes to self what belongs to God only; and this causes them to exclaim with united voice; Who is like unto God? The Divine Righteousness is the first that comes to fight with and destroy the self-righteousness of the creature, and then comes strength to bring to naught the power of man, and causing him to enter by experience of his own infinite weakness into the strength of the Lord (Psalm lxxi. 16), teaches …
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon
Letter Xlv (Circa A. D. 1140) to the Canons of Lyons, on the Conception of S. Mary.
To the Canons of Lyons, on the Conception of S. Mary. Bernard states that the Festival of the Conception was new; that it rested on no legitimate foundation; and that it should not have been instituted without consulting the Apostolic See, to whose opinion he submits. 1. It is well known that among all the Churches of France that of Lyons is first in importance, whether we regard the dignity of its See, its praiseworthy regulations, or its honourable zeal for learning. Where was there ever the vigour …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
The Baptismal Covenant Can be Kept Unbroken. Aim and Responsibility of Parents.
We have gone "to the Law and to the Testimony" to find out what the nature and benefits of Baptism are. We have gathered out of the Word all the principal passages bearing on this subject. We have grouped them together, and studied them side by side. We have noticed that their sense is uniform, clear, and strong. Unless we are willing to throw aside all sound principles of interpretation, we can extract from the words of inspiration only one meaning, and that is that the baptized child is, by virtue …
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church
But Concerning True Patience, Worthy of the Name of this virtue...
12. But concerning true patience, worthy of the name of this virtue, whence it is to be had, must now be inquired. For there are some  who attribute it to the strength of the human will, not which it hath by Divine assistance, but which it hath of free-will. Now this error is a proud one: for it is the error of them which abound, of whom it is said in the Psalm, "A scornful reproof to them which abound, and a despising to the proud."  It is not therefore that "patience of the poor" which …
St. Augustine—On Patience
The Christian's Hope
Scripture references: 1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27; Psalm 130:5; 43:5; Proverbs 10:8; Acts 24:15; Psalm 71:5; Romans 5:1-5; 12:12; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 1:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Psalm 31:24; 71:14,15. HOPE IN THE PRESENT LIFE That which a man ardently hopes for he strives to realize. If he desires fame, office or wealth he will seek to set forces in motion, here and now, which will bring him that which …
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian
Let Thus Much have Been Said with Regard to Charity...
20. Let thus much have been said with regard to charity, without which in us there cannot be true patience, because in good men it is the love of God which endureth all things, as in bad men the lust of the world. But this love is in us by the Holy Spirit which was given us. Whence, of Whom cometh in us love, of Him cometh patience. But the lust of the world, when it patiently bears the burdens of any manner of calamity, boasts of the strength of its own will, like as of the stupor of disease, not …
St. Augustine—On Patience
The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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