A Song of Old Age
In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of evil and cruel men.
For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.”
Be not far from me, O God;
come quickly, O my God, to help me.
May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts,
O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.
I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.
My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.
Psalm 71 (NIV 1984)
Old age is a blessing from the Lord.
In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. -Psalm 71:1
Read and/or listen to Psalm 71 today.
This is considered by some to be a song of old age. It is one of only two psalms in the second book of the Psalter that does not have a title line. The only other one is Psalm 43, which many feel belongs to Psalm 42. Some believe that Psalm 71 belongs with Psalm 70 and that is why it does not have a title line. It is possible that these go together—they do seem to fit in some ways. If so, it would be authored by David. It seems to have Davidic language and, in fact, the first three verses of Psalm 71 are very close to the words opening Psalm 31, which was penned by David. I will be assuming as we go through this week that it was written by David. But authorship does not impact the truths taught within this psalm. Spurgeon said, “We have here the prayer of the aged believer who in holy confidence of faith, strengthened by a long and remarkable experience, pleads against his enemies and asks for further blessings for himself.” As you read through the psalm today, allow yourself to consider David at the end of his life. 2 Samuel 13-24 recounts the last years of David. While he rested in the faithfulness of God, these were not easy years for him. Yet during it all, David learned to take refuge in the Lord. That is the only thing that could keep him from shame. How are you taking refuge in the Lord? We are all on a journey to old age. David’s transparency and perspective can help us on that journey.