“O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.” Psalm 71:17-18
David penned this psalm in his old age. It could have very well been that he wrote this during the time of Absalom’s rebellion. As you read and survey this psalm, you’ll find David beginning the psalm in believing prayer. He prayed that God would save and deliver him, that God wouldn’t cast him off, but that his enemies would be put to shame. David also wrote of his great confidence in God.
In this section of the psalm, we consider David’s hope and his reflection on God’s goodness and instruction in his life. Notice how David doesn’t say something like, “Lord, thank you for what You’ve taught me over the last couple of years.” Although it would have been completely right and good for him to do so, David takes a notable inventory of God’s grace and instruction across his lifespan, from his youth to the present. David recognized the Lord was with him and taught him since he was young. He was thankful. David also continued to proclaim that God’s teaching him never stopped. To that very day, even in his old age, David not only was a student of the Lord, but notice he continued to declare God’s wondrous works. He didn’t keep what he learned to himself, but he openly shared it with others.
Take note of David’s desire in verse 18. He prayed that God would continue to bless him, be with him, and sustain him, that if it be His will, David could continue to proclaim God’s strength and power to the current generation.
Brothers and sisters, be encouraged, take home, and consider the following:
- Take inventory of what God has taught you and where He has brought you over the years- It’s a wonderful thing to receive instruction from the Lord and be taught by him since we were young. Those who have been raised in a Christian home have had that experience. Even some of you who weren’t raised in a Christian home, but the Lord brought other Christians into your life at, a young age, who discipled and taught you the knowledge and ways of the Lord can also attest to this. Recognize God’s work and the benefits of His instruction as you reflect. Then thank God for what He has done!
- Children and Young People: What is God teaching you?– It is good for you, even now, to consider what the Lord is teaching and doing in you. For God doesn’t only work in the lives of adults, but also and quite beautifully in the lives of children and families. Listen to your parents, teachers, and pastor’s instruction. Pray and read your Bibles with a desire to learn. Seek to put what you learn in practice today!
- Parents: Be diligent to train your children in the ways of the Lord– Proverbs 22:6 comes to mind. Many of you know this and seek to do so. But have renewed zeal and be encouraged by the Lord’s blessings, even in the small, yet wonderful evidences of grace in the hearts and lives of your children as you do so.
- Older Saints: Keep on declaring God and His works– Older saints continue to be students of the Teacher. I want to encourage you to fight the thought that your time has passed to have kingdom impact. Have a mind like David. Keep on declaring God’s strength and power to this generation. Younger saints, let’s listen up!
- Let’s have an ongoing focus for multigenerational impact- As God teaches us across the lifespan, as God calls us to raise up and train the next generations, as the older are teaching the younger, as the younger will one day become the older, let us remember the responsibilities and blessing of each station. Let us seek to be faithful to learn, train, grow, and declare together for the glory of Christ our Lord.