Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Glorifying God in the Golden Years

Last Sunday, we studied the prayer of an old man in Psalm 71, and learned how we can "Glorify God in the Golden Years." There were three points to our outline:
  1. The Protection of the Elderly (Ps. 71:1-13). The psalmist senses that he is in danger as his enemies encircle and plot against him. Though his strength is diminishing, his faith remains strong as he runs to God for refuge. It may seem, at times, that God has forsaken us, but we know that those who have trusted Christ are secure. God already forsook His Son on the cross so that we would never have to be forsaken (Matt. 27:46).
  2. The Purpose of the Elderly (Ps. 71:14-18). The psalmist knows that his many years and life experiences are intended by God to be the source for unending hope and praise, while teaching the next generation about God's character and salvation. As long as God keeps us on the earth, He has an important mission for us to fulfill. Whatever faculties we have left should be used for God's glory.
  3. The Praise of the Elderly (Ps. 71:19-24). The psalmist concludes with an outburst of joy and praise to God. He can hardly contain himself as he remembers the righteousness of God and the great things He has done. He expects the Lord to revive Him once again so he can continue to praise God until His final breath, while he awaits God to humble the proud and put his enemies to shame.
Application questions for the young and middle aged:
  • What are my thoughts and feelings about old age?
  • What is the world's perspective of age? What, in contrast, do the following verses say about it? Lev. 19:32; Prov. 16:31; 20:29.
  • Do I treat the elderly with honor? How could I improve? What are the main barriers I face?
  • Do I keep a journal or some other way of recording the "great things" (Ps. 71:19) God has done in my life to help me recall them in the latter years?
  • Do I make myself available to seniors, listening to them and even seeking out their counsel and testimony of God's grace? (Ps. 71:18)
Application questions for seniors:
  • What are the threats and fears I face right now? What comfort can Psalm 71 bring?
  • If Psalm 71:8 were written about me, how would it read? "My mouth is filled with ___." Is my speech generally positive or negative? Is it self-centered or others/God-centered? Are my words full of cynicism, gossip, and complaining? Or joy, encouragement, and thanksgiving?
  • Do I view my life as still having purpose? If so what is it? How does this purpose match up with the glorious purpose described in Psalm 71:14-18?
  • Do I treat the younger generation with respect or see them as a threat? What are the main barriers I face? How am I willing to change or accommodate my own preferences in order to help reach the next generation?
  • Do I make myself available to young and middle aged people, talking with them, getting to know them, praying for them, sharing godly counsel, and testifying of God's grace? (Ps. 71:18) How could I improve?
  • Is my joy evident to others? Does my speech and body language suggest to others that I am genuinely happy? Do I give "shouts" of praise to God through singing and prayer? (Ps. 71:23) How can I be joyful even in difficult circumstances?
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