Sermon #1287 Miscellaneous
Title: A Psalm For Aging Believers
Text: Psalm 71:1-24
Reading: Psalm 71:1-24
Subject: The Trials and Consolations of God’s Elect
Date: Sunday Morning - July 20, 1997
Tape # T-89
believers have trials, temptations, and troubles peculiar to their age,
experience, and ability to bear them. Those experiences, painful as they are to
bear, are necessary for our growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. As we grow in faith and mature in the
grace of God, as we are able to bear them, the Lord sends other trials,
temptations, and troubles to prove our faith and wean us from this world. Aged saints, as they are about
to leave this world of time and sorrow, have other trials, temptations, and
troubles, designed and ordained by God to turn their hearts heavenward and make
them pine for release from this body of flesh and “the glorious liberty of the sons of God.”
Sometimes we have trials that stir our
emotions deeply. Sometimes we have trials which affect our health and leave us
weak and sickly. Sometimes our trials leave emotionally drained, with feelings
of complete emptiness and utter numbness. Our trials are sometimes very brief
and sometimes very long ordeals. Sometimes they last for the remainder of our
earthly existence, leaving us with heavy burdens we simply have to live with
for the rest of our days on earth, cares we must carry to our graves.
That was the case with David in Psalm
71. This is a Psalm written by that
man who was the man after God’s own heart in his old age. It was
probably written during the time of Absalom’s rebellion, or shortly afterward.
When all was said and done, I do not doubt that David blamed himself for the
wickedness and ruin of his son and for the horrible evils done by him, and
rightfully so. Absalom’s base, vile, ungodliness and self-centeredness was the
result of David’s sin. There is no question about that. Yet, David did not
wallow in self pity, or seek to justify himself. He turned to the Lord his God
and sought both help for himself and grace to glorify his God and Savior. This
Psalm is certainly an expression of David’s heavy burden in his old age.
this is a messianic psalm. Indeed, all the Psalms are messianic. I mean
by that that they all, in their primary interpretation and application, refer
to the person and work of Christ. They are designed to point us to him and set
our hearts upon him.
Some argue that this psalm cannot refer to Christ because in
it the one speaking is described as an old man, and our Lord Jesus died as a
relatively young man, just thirty-three years old. However, some people live
very fast and are worn out quickly. There is no question that that was the case
with the Son of God in his earthly sojourn. He appeared to be nearer fifty than
thirty (John 8:57). Though he died as a young man, he had endured and
experienced all that an old man can endure and experience in this world.
psalm is also to be interpreted as a psalm for God’s aging saints in this
world. It is intended for
the general use of God’s people in all their afflictions, and primarily for the
those afflictions we meet with in our declining years. Matthew Henry, was
exactly right when he wrote, “This psalm, above any other, is fitted for the
use of the old disciples of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, I have titled my sermon
today - A Psalm For Aging Believers.
You may think, “I am not in that group. The message is not
for me.” You are mistaken. If you are
not an absolute fool, you will be wise enough to learn from those who have
walked the road before you. So I trust you will follow along carefully
as we go through these twenty-four verses together, gleaning what we can from
this psalm for aging saints. May God the Holy Spirit, who inspired David to
write these words, now teach us their meaning and apply them to our hearts, for
trust you will allow me the liberty of taking David’s words in this psalm to be
my own. I am not an aged
believer; but I am an aging believer; and the words before us in these
twenty-four verses are exact expressions of my own soul. I hope that you can,
by the Spirit of God make them your own as well. As we look at the psalm
together I want to show you seven things about myself. These are things about
which I speak to God constantly in the privacy of my own closet. I speak them
now publicly only because I hope they may be, by the blessing of God’s Spirit,
beneficial to your souls.
In the opening sentence of verse one, I give you MY
CONFESSION OF FAITH.
I am often asked, “What is your creed? What is your confession of
faith?” Everyone wants to put us in neat little religious packages, so they can
lump us into one category or another. Well, this is my creed. This is my
confession of faith. I make it to you. And I make it to the world. But, above
all, I make it to my God.
Verse 1 “In
thee, O LORD, do I put my trust.”
A. I put my trust in the Lord Jehovah,
Triune God, as he has revealed
and made himself known himself in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Father - The covenant keeping God who has sworn to do me good. I put my trust
in his purpose, his providence, and his Son!
Son - My all-sufficient Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. I put my trust in his
obedience, his blood, his intercession, and his merit.
Holy Spirit - My Sanctifier, Preserver, and Comforter. I put my trust in his
grace, his power, and his direction.
B. I put my trust in the blessed Word of God.
Faith, in its
essence, is taking God at his Word, bowing to the Revelation of God in Holy
Scripture, believing God…
The Lord God knows
our faith; he delights to hear it confessed. Therefore, the psalmist declares, “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust!” I
rest on God, as a man standing upon a rock; and I trust in God as a man taking
refuge in a cave. Read on…
in verses 1-4, I want to show you MY SOUL’S GREATEST NEED.
Be sure you listen
carefully, because that which is my
soul’s greatest need is also your soul’s greatest need. I need God’s salvation;
and you do too. I need God’s salvation as much now as ever; and you do too. I need
God’s salvation eternally; and need God’s salvation now. I needed God’s
salvation yesterday. I need God’s salvation today. And if I am still around
tomorrow, I will need God’s salvation tomorrow. The only One who could deliver
my soul from hell is Christ. The only One who can keep me out of hell forever
is Christ. And the only One who can deliver me from the hell I experience on
this earth is Christ.
Verse 1 “Let me never be put to confusion.”
So long as the
world stands, O Lord, stand by me! Keep me from the shame and confusion of
I love what John
Gill about this sentence. - “The believer has no reason to be ashamed
of anything in this life but sin, and the imperfection of his own
righteousness, and his trust in it; not of the Lord, in whom he trusts; nor of
his Word, or Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom he believes as his Saviour and
Redeemer; nor of the Spirit, and his work of grace upon him; nor of his faith,
hope, trust, and confidence in them; nor of the Gospel, the means of faith, and
of the support of it; nor of, the reproaches, afflictions, and sufferings, he
endures for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; nor of his ordinances and his
people; nor will he be ashamed hereafter at the coming of Christ, when he will
appear in his righteousness, be clothed with white robes, have palms in his
hands, and shall stand at his right hand, and be received into glory.”
Verse 2 “Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause
me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.”
We want deliverance from the wrath to come; and we want
deliverance from our trials, temptations, and troubles in this world. But there
is something more important than our troubles or our deliverance; and that
something is the glory of God! Therefore David prayed, “Deliver me in thy
The only way the
holy Lord God can or will save a sinner is upon the grounds of righteousness
established and justice satisfied by the obedience and death of his Son, the
Lord Jesus Christ, as the sinners’ Substitute.
Notice: In this verse David asks
for three things upon the ground of Divine Righteousness. Yet, these three
things are just three aspects of one thing, three aspects of salvation.
me!” - Snatch
me out of trouble. Snatch me away from my enemies. Snatch me out of this pit!
me to escape!” - Bring
me out of prison into safety. Loose my bonds. Break my shackles. Open the
prison doors and bring me out.
me!” Set me at
liberty. Here he asks not only to escape from prison and be delivered from
judgment, but also to be granted such liberty that he need not look over his
Verse 3 “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I
may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
Happy is that
sinner who has God himself for his Dwelling Place, his strong Habitation, his
Rock and his Fortress and can claim him as such by personal faith. In Christ,
that is exactly what God is to every believer. Christ is our City of Refuge to
whom we flee from the avenging justice of God’s holy law and wrath.
NOTE: That little word “my” when speaking of the
infinite, eternal God is a mighty word!
Notice this too -
Every sinner who flees to Christ for refuge may confidently lift his heart to
God Almighty himself and say, “Thou hast given commandment to save me!”
1. To His Son In The Covenant Of Grace!
2. To His Angels!
3. To All Creation!
4. To All Providence!
Verse 4 “Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of
the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.”
Let men call it
arrogance, bigotry, or stupidity. I could not care less what men have to say
about it - God is on the side of his
people. Those who are our enemies are his enemies. Those who oppose us
oppose him. He considers anything done to his people as being done to him, be
it good or evil.
As God delivered
his Son out of the hand of Satan, the wicked one, and out of the hands of
unrighteous and cruel men, so he will deliver us.
The Hands Of Unrighteous And Cruel Men.
verses 5-8, let me show you MY LIFE’S EXPERIENCE OF GRACE.
I am not speaking to you as a boy who is still wet behind the
ears. I speak not as a novice, but as a man nearly half a century old, as one
who has for thirty years studied the things about which I speak. This I know -
Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life! My entire life has
one word written across it in bold, capital letters - GRACE! Read verses 5-8. This is my life’s testimony.
to me now.
A. My only hope is the
Lord Jesus Christ himself, the Lord my God! - “Thou art my hope!”
B. Christ alone has been
my hope from my youth.
I grew up hard and
fast as a God hating rebel in riotousness, lawlessness, and lasciviousness. I
wasted a lifetime in sixteen years. Then, the Lord God stepped in, stopped me
in my mad rush for hell, and saved me by his grace! But his grace toward me
began long before that…
C. God, in his great prevenient grace, upheld me
and protected me in life from my mother’s womb.
D. I am a wonder to many.
and Friends who Knew Me Before.
Angels of God.
Myself! - I marvel at God’s grace toward me. I marvel at my sin, unbelief,
coldness, and indifference toward him!
E. I repeat what I have already said; But Christ is my Refuge!
I do not take refuge in myself, but in my
In the light of
such astounding, wondrous mercy, love, and grace you cannot be surprised to
hear me cry, “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day!”
IV. Fourthly, I want to share with
you MY MOST WEIGHTY CONCERN (vv. 9-13).
I want you to get
this. Confident faith does not imply presumption. We who believe God have no
confidence in the flesh, and we dare not presume upon God’s goodness and grace.
Being preserved by grace, we persevere in faith. We never rest content with
ourselves, count ourselves to have attained our goal, or to have arrived at our
end in this world. Never! We press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus. We strive to enter into his rest, and labor
that we may be found in Christ, not having our own righteousness, but the
righteousness of God in Christ. I have no greater fear, no weightier concern
than that God might leave me to myself.
I do not pretend to
understand all the depths of these words; but this much I know.
A. If ever God should
cast me off and leave me to myself, there is no hope for my soul.
B. The immutable God,
the God of all grace will never cast off his people.
Old age robs us of
beauty and strength, of family and friend, of vision, hearing and memory; but
old age shall never rob us of our God! Old age may lessen our usefulness, but
not our blessedness. It lowers our names on earth in the minds of men, but not in
heaven in the heart of God. Old age diminishes our capacities, but not our
favor with God!
C. There are many who, in the time of our deep
troubles, say God has forsaken us (just as they did regarding our Lord); but
his nearness is our conscious security!
Illustration: Henry Mahan’s Call
D. Our enemies shall soon be confounded and put to
I want to pause at
each word and roll each syllable around. This is such a blessed psalm! But I
must move on, or we will not finish. And I want you to see the whole thing. So
look with me at verses 14-16.
V. Fifthly, I want to declare to
you MY HEART’S DETERMINATION.
This is what I am
resolved and determined by the grace of God to do for the glory of God. I am
determined not to allow anything or anyone move me from this determination.
A. I will hope continually.
God helping me, I
will not be moved away from the hope of the gospel.
B. I will yet give more praise to God.
I have not yet
begun to praise him as I ought, as I desire, or as he is worthy to be praised.
The more I know of and the more I experience his grace, the more I shall praise
him alone and always.
mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation; for I know not the
Righteousness of God in Salvation! - “I
will make mention of THY RIGHTEOUSNESS, even of THINE ONLY!”
Accomplishment of Salvation!
Blessedness - Countless Blessednesses of It!
D. I will go on in the strength of the Lord.
Way of Faith.
Path of Duty.
House of the Lord. - My trials and troubles (neither inward nor outward), I am
resolved, will not keep me from the worship of my God.
the Trials Before Me.
the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
VI. Sixthly, look at verses 17-18,
and I will show you MY ONLY EARTHLY AMBITION.
Before writing that
statement out, I did some soul searching. I spent hours yesterday asking myself
this question before God - “Is this really your only earthly ambition?” I am
here today to assert to you and to my God that it is. I have no illusions of grandeur
and greatness, no desire for fortune or fame, but I do want, O my God, I do
want to make known to this generation thy greatness and thy wondrous works!
Give me grace, wisdom, and strength to do this, and I ask no more for myself!
VII. Lastly, let me show you MY
CONFIDENT ASSURANCE (vv.
I have absolutely no confidence in myself: not in my experiences,
nor in my feelings, nor in my abilities, nor even in the graces and gifts
bestowed upon me by the Spirit of God; but I do have confidence in my God.
Verse 19 “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great
things: O God, who is like unto
I have great
confidence in his righteousness, greatness, supremacy, and sovereignty.
Verse 20 “Thou,
which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt
bring me up again from the depths of the earth.”
I know that my sore
troubles and great trials are the work of his providence; and I know that he
who brought me into the trouble, whatever it is, will bring me up again by his
grace. As he who brought Christ down to the grave brought him up again, so my God
will deliver me from my troubles! He will…
Me In Providence!
Me From The Grave!
Verse 21 “Thou
shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.”
There are greater things before me than all that are behind me.
World To Come!
I stand before God my Savior, I will not have a word to speak about my will, my
works, or my worth. But I will have something to say. I fully expect one day
soon to join the choirs of glory and to forever give praise to God my Savior!
Why shouldn’t I? I am…
by The Blood of Christ.
the Righteousness of Christ.
by The Spirit of Christ.
Children of God, we will spend eternity speaking
of God’s grace, God’s redemption, and God’s righteousness!
Yet, there is more. I fully
expect to see a full vindication of my soul and the utter shame and confusion
of my soul’s enemies when I stand before God. In fact, it is as good as done!
Look at the last line of verse twenty-four…
“For they are
confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.”