3. From Persecution to Victory! Psalm 71:10-13

Text: “Oh God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wonderous works.  Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.”

Psalm 71:17-18.

Good morning, grey-headed Christian!  You fully realise that the years of time that our Sovereign Lord God has ordained us, His creatures, to live, has an average of ‘three-score years and ten’, that is seventy years approximately, of life expectancy.  Praise God!  If He has ordained that some of us live longer than this, with the added years, may well come the added ailments and infirmities of our human bodies.  Yet, all is well, when we know our times are in the hands of a truly Sovereign and all-gracious Lord God.

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  (Psalm 90:10)

The author can quickly affirm the veracity of the above quoted Bible verse, because I am living the realities of it at 76 years of age.  Sometimes ‘seeing IS believing’, my friend.  I have overreached my ‘three score years and ten’ - and my frequent trips to the bathroom in the night seasons alone, confirms the attendant ’labour and sorrow’ promised in God’s Word.  God’s Word is truth.

“So, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”    (Psalm 90:12)

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.”  (John 17:17)

“Psalm 71 has been called “The Prayer of the Aged Believer”.

“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 further blessings for himself.  Anticipating a gracious reply, he promises to magnify the Lord exceedingly.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 305)

“It is not unnatural or improper for a man who sees old age coming upon him to pray for special grace, and special strength, to enable him to meet what he cannot ward off, and what he cannot but dread; for, who can look upon the infirmities of old age, as coming upon himself, but with sad and pensive feelings.

“Who would wish to be an old man?  Who can look upon a man tottering with years, and broken down with infirmities; a man whose sight and hearing are gone; a man who is alone amidst the graves of all the friends that he had in early life; a man who is a burden to himself, unto the world; a man who has reached the ‘last scene of all that ends in strange, eventful history’ – that scene of ‘Second childishness, and mere oblivion…’” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, page 306)

At 76 years of age, I, the author, can relate very closely to what is here written on the subject of ‘old age’, in relative human experience, and as a mature senior Christian of over 44 years on the road of Christ’s Salvation.  Special grace has been my personal plea, and special grace has been granted by our truly Sovereign and gracious Lord God.  Ask for it, fellow mature senior Christian, it will be given you, according to the Sovereign will of God.

Hear what John Wesley says on this vital subject: 

Verse 9. “Forsake me not when my strength faileth. “June 28.  This day I enter on my eighty-sixth year.  I now find I grow old: 1. My sight is decayed, so that I cannot read small print, unless in a strong light. 2. My strength is decayed, so that I walk much slower that I did some years since.  3. My memory of names, whether persons or places, is decayed, till I stop a little to recollect them.

“What I should be afraid of, is, if I took thought for the morrow, that my body should weigh down my mind, and create either stubbornness, by the decrease of my understanding, or peevishness, by the increase of bodily infirmities; but Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God.”  (John Wesley 1703-1791) 

Verse 10. “For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together.  No change here, then!  If a Christian man or woman is seeking to be faithful and obedient to the Lord God Jehovah, in Christ Jesus, he/she shall endure this treatment from the world, the flesh, the Devil – and in my own experience – even from other’s professing Christ as their Saviour. Fact.

Verse 11. “Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver.  Oh, bitter taunt!  There is no worse arrow in all the quivers of Hell.  Our Lord felt this barbed shaft, and it is no marvel if His disciples feel the same.  Where this exclamation the truth, it were indeed an ill day for us; but, glory be to God, it is a barefaced lie.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 307)

Persecution is, as we have constantly affirmed throughout this exposition of the Books of the Psalms, a sure expectation for every genuine Bible-believing, born again, Christian man or woman – and especially so, if the believer is engaged in active service to King Jesus Christ.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”  (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

In my experience, these ever-present hindrances and persecutions and oppositions, do not decrease when the active-service Christian grows older in human years - in fact, those that are Satanically inspired to oppose Christ’s people seem to wax bolder in their oppositions and intended persecutions when they see with their faithless eyes that the Christian is getting old.  Hyenas love to single out the weakest deer for their deadliest attacks.

To this end, the persecuted Christian cries out to his/her faithful Father-God for His ‘ever-present’ help.  It is, in my long experience, ever given – but only in God’s own Sovereign will and time.

Verse 12.  “O God, be not far from me: my God, make haste for my help.  David’s enemies watched carefully, spied upon him at every opportunity, to see if his God would help him to thwart their persecutions and hindrances of the Psalmist.  When they saw that the Lord seemed to tarry a while before baring His Almighty arm, they falsely, supposed that God had forsaken him, and therefore planned to persecute David further, as there seemed to be no one to deliver him.  How wrong they were!  David immediately cried out a Divine imprecation against them, a weapon seldom used in our toothless church worldwide today.  Verse 13. “Let them be confounded…consumed…covered with dishonour that seek my hurt.”  Bible history shows that David’s imprecatory prayer was heard and answered.

Thought: Persecutions of true Christians only promotes Victories from the Christ. Pray on, aged and feeble Christian – your prayers are powerful to God’s praise.

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