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PSALM 92:12-15

ESPECIALLY FOR THE AGED!

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him." Psalm 92:12-15

 

Recent photo of the Preacher and  his wife Debbie

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

That's perhaps the best term to use, the "aged." Paul used it of himself. And he was not too old when he did either! Writing to Philemon, the Apostle said, "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds." The word is "presbutes," accenting the second syllable, the middle one. It means a "senior," or merely "one advanced in life!"

Elsewhere the Bible has already taught us to respect the aged among us. "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:32 here is quite plain. Stand in their midst! Respect their lives! Note too that the verse links respect for the older folks and love of God!

First let me explain why Psalm 92 seems to close with exhortation to the elderly. Let's read it again. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

The term "old age" is central to the Text. Only one Hebrew word, a noun, is translated "old age." It is spelled "seybah." While we plan to cover it more carefully in our exposition of Verse 14 where it occurs, in the King James Bible it is rendered as "old age" only six times! It is also translated "gray hairs" six more times! And "hoar" or "hoar head" or "hoary head" on half a dozen more occasions. Then it's "grayheaded" once as well! That should add up to nineteen Old Testament appearances.

Contextually this "old age" thing seems to permeate the whole Paragraph. For example, both the trees mentioned, the palm and the cedar, are know for vitality in old age! The whole idea of being "planted" at the House of God also suggests longevity! Faithfulness through the years! And logic alone dictates that the longer a man or woman has been walking with God, proving His Word and enjoying His promises and basking in His Love and battling His enemies, the stronger that person's testimony will be! How very "upright" God is! How much like a "Rock" and how unlike the shifting sands of time!

Anyway, our Churches today are so tilted toward the adults and, even more so, the aged, that such a Sermon is needed! Or so the Lord told me when I went "looking" for a Text such as this!

May these words be a blessing to anyone over, let's say, fifty-five or sixty and beyond! Paul was at least in his fifties when he called himself "aged!"

And to you young folks, read these Lessons too. If Jesus does not return to get us within the next few years, hopefully you too will be among this special group of folks down at God's House! The aged ones who believe in Christ Jesus!

Well, Lord willing, tomorrow we shall begin our verse-by-verse journey. Staring with Verse 12. In the meanwhile, go call your parents or grandparents and tell them you admire their faith and love for the Lord! If they have already crossed over to Glory, bend your knees and praise the Lord for having given you godly forefathers!

That is, if your knees will still bend!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 12:

The verse reads: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." Psalm 92:12

The word "righteous" speaks of those whom we in the post-Calvary era would call "saved." In the Age of Grace! It's "tzsaddiyq" and means "just or lawful or cleansed," most often in the eyes of the legal authorities.

Spiritually speaking, it is only God Who can made a man or woman just or righteous in the eyes of the Law! Also keep in mind that this can only be done through the Power of Another, Jesus Christ and His shed Blood!

The verb "flourish" is spelled "parach" and means "to bud, sprout, bloom, break out, spread abroad or even fly!" Growth is more than implied! Dramatic expansion! His coasts are enlarging! The "time" sense of this verb is that of incomplete action! When the Psalmist lad down his pen, the subject was still blooming, preparing to bear much fruit!

The preposition "like," used twice in our short verse, "ke" in Hebrew, means "as" or "as if" or "according to." Something along those lines. "Ke" here is grammatically affixed to "tamar," a "palm tree," as Hebrew prepositions often are. When assimilated as such, it becomes "ka" in our verse. That is, "ka-tamar." In English these phrases are "word pictures" or "similes." The righteous Believer here certainly does not become a palm tree! He and she in their obvious growth and expansion simply resemble or correspond to those majestic trees!

Now to the "palm tree" itself, again spelled "tamar." Earlier in our Psalm, back in verse 7, the wicked were compared to, of all things, "grass!" But not the godly! They are stronger, more robust! The word "tamar" is thought to be derived from an old Hebrew verb meaning "to stand erect!" That's exactly what the palm tree does too! Strong and unswerving and unbending, even in the wind! Paul talks about those who are so weak they are like "children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine." Not so with these saints of God, these Psalm 92 Christians!

A palm tree also has its real life and vitality in its top, its head! So with us Christians! Jesus is our Head! He is our Life! We are merely the body! Should the head be cut away, the tree dies! But Christians, don't worry! Jesus, our Head, is alive forevermore!

The palm tree also thrives in inhospitable climates, hot and sunny and dry! So the Believer can handle adversity and hardship! These marvelous trees bear a delicious fruit too! Saints, the fruit of the Spirit, pretty "tasty" also!

It's an evergreen also! Not dry and dead and languishing! Of course Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God as well, a very vital Holy Spirit, invigorating and enthusiastic!

And here's why it's placed in our "elderly" Text, palm trees live to a ripe old age! Some today are estimated to be thousands of years old! Hundreds of years anyway!

Plus, the branches of the palm tree are historically used to celebrate! As tokens of joy and victory too! Over-comers!  How Christian-like is that? "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." That's 1st John 5:4 now followed by 1st John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

But back to our verse, verse 12, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." The verb "grow," obviously used in parallel with the earlier verb "flourish," is spelled "sagah" and means "to increase." In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the word "righteous" occurs first and the verb "grow" is placed last! This wonderful verse is framed by words of standing and vitality! Much like Peter's last words, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever." 2nd Peter 3:18

They literally "keep on growing," so says Psalm 92:12 of the godly! It's a habit! They can't help it! It's now in their nature, their new nature!

The noun "cedar" is "erez," derived from a word meaning "to be firm!" The cedar lives up to its name! It can grow up to 150 feet in height! Firm and stable too! Cedar wood is durable! Cedar wood is fragrant! Cedar wood is useful, especially in the building industry! Each of these traits "fits" the saints of God too!

Did you notice this? The palm tree expands, growing laterally, while the cedar tree stands firm, growing vertically! Here we have both breadth and depth spiritually! God's future blessings upon Israel mirror such growth! "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon." See? Roots downward and branches outward! Vertically and horizontally! That's real progress!

"Lebanon" is Biblically best known for its majestic cedar trees. "Lebanon" in Hebrew, a word we just borrowed letter for letter, "transliterated" they call it, means "whiteness." It's built upon a root stem that means one's "heart!" That's just "lebab" in Hebrew! The inner man or woman, the soul ... unstained and pure and cleansed by the Lord Jesus Christ!

What descriptive phrases and clauses we've had today!

All depicting a godly man or woman, who is apparently older in age!

Oh, did I tell you? Cedars are also known for the number of their years! Hundreds of years they often live!

Yes, old trees can still be stately and beautiful and fragrant and helpful to their environment! I'm not talking about that nature-worshipping crowd either, not their definition of "environment!"

Older saints of God, we salute you today!

Your faithfulness encourages us all!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 13:

The Text reads: "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God." Psalm 92:13

We are suggesting that this whole paragraph of Scripture, a "pericope" the scholars call it, focuses on elderly people. Using verse 14 as its "anchor," it clearly proclaims, "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age."

As the average age of our Church congregations steadily increases, someone needs to preach to the senior saints too! I fear a disproportionate amount of time and energy and resources are expended on the "youth" in today's Churches, at the expense of the "backbone" of the Fellowship, the aging Believers!

"Old" is not necessarily "bad!"

In fact, in Bible days "old" was "good," a symbol of wisdom if one's life was godly! Remember Leviticus 19:32. "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." Now "hoary" just means gray or white hair!

Someone who has only been saved a few weeks or months or even years might not be "planted" yet at God's House! That takes a while! "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God."

That verb, "planted," translates "shathal" in Hebrew, actually meaning "transplanted" as well as "planted." The voice here is passive, Someone Else being the Husbandman! It's also the first word in the Hebrew Text, thereby needing emphasis. This is the same verb as is used in Psalm 1:3, speaking of the one who meditates in God's Word. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Keep that "transplanted" thought in mind too! Jeremiah 17:8 continues this beautiful picture as well, maybe even alluding to the psalmist. The verb is also a participle in these instances, indicating constant action. We are daily being further planted, roots growing downward into the rich soil of God's Word! And God's House!

And just as in Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, this "planting" is accompanied by manifold blessings! The planted ones shall "flourish" in God's courts! This verb is "parach," the last word of the verse, again to be emphasized. Here's  an example of "inclusio," in a "planted/flourishing" motif. "Parach" also was used last verse, verse 12 of our Text! There the righteous man was "flourishing" like a palm tree! It still means "to bud, sprout, bloom, break out, spread abroad" or even "fly!"

Talk about vitality!

Talk about revival!

Talk about freshness!

Earlier in Psalm 92:7 the wicked also "flourished!" Translated "spring" there, "parach" is used on a much lower scale. Watch this. "When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever." There's quite a difference between mere "grass" and the majestic "palm trees!"

Our verse today has given us direct linkage between being faithful at God's House and subsequent spiritual growth and fruitfulness!

Amen!

Not just for spry young people.

But for settled, planted, faithful adults as well!

Ezekiel 17:8, still using "parach," probably best gives us God's goal in our being so planted, planted at God's House. "It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine." The goal is fruit! Fruit to the glory of God!

Lastly, notice the two places specifically mentioned in our Verse today, "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God." Namely, the "house" of God and the "courts" of God! These locations are synonymous in certain ways. But in other ways different shades of meaning appear. The "House" of God, "baiyth" in Hebrew, implies the entire dwelling. While the normal godly Jew could not enter the Holy Place at the Tabernacle, not literally, we today can! We can come before the very Throne of Grace! And even in the Old Testament when the Psalmist spoke of being under the shadow of God's wings, he was spiritually picturing himself sitting at the Mercy Seat in the very Holy of Holies! "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." Psalm 63:7 is an example. There are several others too.

Now that's being in God's House!

Yet the "courts" are mentioned too. "Chatzser" means "an enclosed area." Yet it is derived from a verb, "chatzsar," suggesting the "sounding of a trumpet!"

Several thoughts occur.

Spend time in the Most Holy Place with God, done through years of fellowship, and you will be all the more effective out in the courts where more people are found!

And, be intimate with God, in sweet communion, through the years ... and consequently, you will long to hear the sound of the "trumpet" when it comes! And such a sound is coming! "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 makes me say "Amen!"

Faithful saints of many years, we salute you today!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 14:

"They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." Psalm 92:14

These older folks are the subject of this part of the Psalm! Godly though elderly, and very profitable to the Lord!

Heretofore these dear Believers have been compared to beautifully refreshing palm trees and stately strong cedars, even like those of Lebanon! They also have been classified among the faithful, down at God's House I mean! "Planted" there it seems!

Now today we learn more.

The verb, one word in Hebrew, for "bring forth fruit" is "nub." I can only find it four times in the whole Bible! Twice, including here, it is translated "bring forth fruit" and once it is "to increase" and once more "to make cheerful!" The specific action of this verb in our context is said to be "incomplete." These folks were not yet through bearing fruit when the Psalmist laid down his pen! Still living for Jesus!

The expression "old age" utilizes the noun "seybah." Used 19 times in Scripture, it most often means "gray hair." Here's its first Bible appearance: "And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age." Genesis 15:15 is speaking of Abraham. Then Genesis 25:8, "Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people." God keeps His promises!

Here, in Leviticus 19:32, we are taught how to treat the "older" folks in our midst. "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." Clear, isn't it? Furthermore, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31, crowns of glory!

"They shall be" translates "havah," the very heart of God's name "Jehovah!" God is the Lord who "is!" He "is" forevermore! "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

These senior saints "shall be" constantly fat and flourishing! So is the import of the verb here. On-going action! Habitually so! Faithfulness again!

Now to the adjective "fat," which in Hebrew, "dashen," means "vigorous, stalwart," even the idea of being "prosperous" at times! Once it is linked to being "anointed!"

But, interestingly, "dashen" is often associated with the "ashes" of the spent offerings down at the Tabernacle! What's left of a sacrifice totally dedicated to God! What a picture of old age! A life having been invested in the things of Christ! Like a candle nearly consumed, but having given warmth and light all its days, so are the saints of God! Paul, ready to die, said this: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." That verb "ready to be offered" is "spendo" and speaks for itself! Paul "spent" his life for Jesus! What holy ashes!

And "flourishing" is "raanan," that is, "to grow luxuriant, fresh, green," that kind of idea!

These godly older folks are not just, in one sense, "spent!" But also, in another glorious sense, "fresh and lively and vibrant!"

Found nineteen times in Scripture, "raanan" first appears in Deuteronomy 12:2. "Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree."

Green!

Full of life producing sap!

Spiritually healthy!

Here's "ranaan" translated "fresh." Psalm 92:10 says, "But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil."

Old age, for the godly, need not be morbid and depressing and negative! Not according to this Psalm!

Praise the Lord!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 15:

Why do Christian folks live?

Especially, here in our Psalm 92 context, older Believers in Jesus?

People who are described this beautifully: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." Psalm 92:12-14

Verse 15, our Verse for today, supplies the answer! And a glorious one it is! "To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him." That's why!

The verb "show" is interesting. "Nagad" means "to report, declare or utter." But it can also mean "to expound!" Here's one of its "expound" appearances. "And Samson said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle." Judges 14:14

Your life is an exposition!

An exposition of the goodness and grace of God!

Of His love and glory!

Wow!

But more, God is "upright!"

"Yashar" means "straight" as well as "upright." Both horizontally and vertically correct! God is righteous! Holy! Just!

Therefore, we are to live correspondingly!

Paul thus preaches in Titus 2:2. "We should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Amen!

We also are to illustrate the fact that God is our "Rock!" Spelled "tzsur," this noun appears 78 times in the Bible. Here's its first occurrence and it is quite emblematic! "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel." Exodus 17:6 depicts a special rock! This one is a picture of Jesus! Jesus was smitten that we might be saved! Smitten on Calvary! And because of His Death, the Holy Spirit was given!

Jesus explains it far better than I can. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:37-39

Let's live our lives faithfully, stably, like a rock!

Peter's testimony, given in Matthew 16:16, was like a rock! "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus responded, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The Psalmist lived that way! Even in his old age! Pointing to Jesus, the Rock!  "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." Psalm 18:2

The "Rock of Ages" hymnwriter Augustus Toplady said. And he was speaking of course about Jesus our Lord!

"To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

God in His pristine Holiness! He is "not unrighteous!" And this, His awesome Purity, is His defining attribute!

Nowhere in the Bible is God ascribed as Love, Love, Love!

Or Grace, Grace, Grace!

Not in triple-fold intensity!

Not Wise, Wise, Wise either!

Of course God is all these things, perfectly and infinitely!

But we do have Scripture, Old Testament and New, where God is said to be thrice Holy!

Holy! Holy! Holy!

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." That's personal testimony, taken from Isaiah 6:1-3.

Then again such glorious terminology, or maybe better, nomenclature, appears in Revelation 4:8. "And the four beasts, living creatures, had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."

Yes!

Our lives, even when we're old, should verify these heavenly findings!

Again, here's why we live. "To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

Glory to God!

No wonder Christian saints, advanced in years, still have strength and purpose and resolve!

Paul was right!

Christ is our life!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

That noun "unrighteousness" actually incorporates the Hebrew word "evel." It means "twisted or perverse," wicked in that sense. There's nothing crooked about God! The prohibitive "lo" is placed just before "evel," God is NOT unjust, ever! And again, our lives are to show it!

 

 

LESSON 6, SOLOMON ON GROWING OLD:

Several precious Texts have addressed this idea of human aging, particularly as it relates to God's children. Elderly Believers I mean. Senior saints!

Here's an example.

Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 12, describes old age in no uncertain terms! He even calls such a time the "evil days," or days of "no pleasure." He begins: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." Yet even Ecclesiastes 12:1 puts God in the place of priority, the right place. "Remember" translates "zakar," meaning "to call to mind, to think upon, to mention," making it here a command, an imperative!

Verse 2 of the same chapter, Ecclesiastes 12: "While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain." In other words, "dark days" are coming, a rather pessimistic view! When one is young, "clouds" may come, but things usually get better! When old, "clouds" still come, but not much "clearing" follows! Just more clouds, then storms and rain!

Verse 3: "In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened." The "keepers of the house" are probably one's legs. Their strength wanes and one is not as steady. The "strong men" refer apparently to one's arms also, not as useful as once they were. "Grinders" obviously are the teeth! "Darkened" windows means the eyes are growing dim too.

Verse 4: "And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low." One can't get outside as much either, doors are just not as inviting! Even eating substantial meals can be a problem, chewing or "grinding" being much more troublesome! Insomnia too, rising early, when the first birds sing! And "music" being made "low," there go the ears too, now hearing impaired.

Verse 5: "Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets." Paranoia can set in! Phobias of all kinds, excessive worrying too! Fear of heights! Fear of traffic, "things in the way or in the street!" Don't laugh! Donkeys and ox-carts could be dangerous too! One now can't lift much either! Even a grasshopper is a burden! Appetite goes away, "desire" fails. He means all kinds of appetite apparently. One's "long home" is the place the soul goes at death! Heaven or Hell, to be there for a long time too, eternity! "Mourners" obviously are sad that we have passed away, temporarily sad anyway.

Verse 6: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern." The "silver cord" is likely the spinal column, the human back and vertebrae and central nervous system. The "golden bowl" might be the skull, the brain, the ability to think and reason clearly.  And without being too plain, the broken pitcher at the "fountain" is apparently an incontinent bladder. The broken "wheel" is thought by some to mean the human heart, the pump for one's circulation system.

Verse 7: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." This is a pretty good statement, especially to be in the Old Testament! Of course, God wrote it anyway. He originally said to Adam and Eve, "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." This is in Genesis 3:19. But where goes the spirit? Back to God! That's in line with Paul's great: "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 5:8

Then, for the Believer, even the elderly one, the end is not so bad!

True, this does not yet rise to the level of, say: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Corinthians 15:55-57

But it does have us "with the Lord" for all eternity!

What could be better than that?

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Old age, it can be a blessing! That is, when you walk with the Lord! Then, bring it on! The alternative is dying young. And, excepting the Rapture of the Church, old age is the only way to Heaven!

Even then, with all those geriatric problems, Jesus is surely "touched with the feeling of our infirmities!" He knows! In fact, there is nothing that escapes His Attention!

And He cares!

Certainly!

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, CONCLUSION:

About a month ago I began to think about the growing number of older folks in our Church services. They, thankfully, are everywhere! Nearly every Bible-believing Church is heavily populated with the elderly, or people edging ever closer to elderly status!

Some interpret this as a bad sign. The "aging" of the Church, they call it. Hence, they change their music to some contemporary style and their Bibles to paraphrases and their services to just times of entertainment! Why? To attract young people, of course! To not look so "old!" To lure the young at any price!

Well, hear me. Being "old" is not a curse!

The King James word "hoar" or "hoary" means "gray" or "gray hairs" or "old age." Now read Leviticus 19:32. "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." And remember Proverbs 16:31. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness."

I repeat, old age can be a blessing. God even makes special promises to such senior saints! "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: and even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." Isaiah 46:3-4

Just like there are sins to which young people are especially susceptible, so with older people! Paul warned young Timothy, "Flee also youthful lusts." 2nd Timothy 2:22

And listen to the Psalmist repenting! "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." Psalm 25:7

What about older folks? What might be their "besetting" sins? That Greek word, "euperistatos," means "skillfully standing around!" It blends "eu" (good) and "peri" (around) and "stasis" (standing), what a word! I allude to Hebrews 12:1 of course: "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us."

Here's an example. In Numbers chapter 12, Miriam, sister of Moses, is guilty of sin. She gossiped and slandered and spoke bitter words about her Brother Moses! Things got so bad that God punished her with a case of leprosy! "And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous." Numbers 12:10 here. That's one sin old folks can commit, using their mouths and tongues!

Here are some others; grouchiness, pride, stubbornness, covetousness, a know-it-all attitude, laxity concerning the things of God! And there are others.

Furthermore, the Bible is filled with elderly people! Eli was ninety-eight! And elderly David wrote, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Anna was laden with many years when she saw baby Jesus! Apparently Simeon was too. And even Paul, "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ." This was written to Philemon. And, of course, John the Beloved! He was still young when Jesus was crucified! Yet was still writing from Patmos around AD 96. That's elderly! And let's not even mention Methuselah. He died at age 969, the record. That's according to Genesis 5:27!

Now listen to these old people. "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." That's Paul! Does it get any better than that?

And, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1st Corinthians 15:55

But old saints do more than die victoriously! They live well too! And here's where we started several days ago, with Psalm 92:12-15. Watch the capitalized words please. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shOw that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

This whole Psalm 92 paragraph is about older Christians. Including their being compared to palm trees and cedars and planted, like flourishing vegetation ... at God's House nonetheless!

May God grant us spiritually what He gave Caleb physically! Read with me Joshua 14:10-11. "And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in." So said 85 year old Caleb on his birthday! Caleb who followed the Lord fully!

May Job 12:12 be so in our lives. "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding."

Happy old age ... in the Lord!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

TO PREACH THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD, ONE MUST ENCOURAGE THE OLDER FOLKS TOO! PAUL SAID THIS TO THE EPHESIANS, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." ACTS 20:27

 

 

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