Psalm 71:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age. David was not tired of his Master, and his only fear was lest his Master should be tired of him. The Amalekite in the Bible history left his Egyptian servant to famish when he grew old and sick, but not so the Lord of saints; even to hoar hairs he bears and carries us. Alas for us, if we were abandoned by our God, as many a courtier has been by his prince! Old age robs us of personal beauty, and deprives us of strength for active service; but it does not lower us in the love and favour of God. An ungrateful country leaves its worn out defenders to starve upon a scanty pittance, but the pensioners of heaven are satisfied with good things.

Forsake me not when my strength faileth. Bear with me, and endure my infirmities. To be forsaken of God is the worst of all conceivable ills, and if the believer can be but clear of that grievous fear, he is happy: no saintly heart need be under any apprehension upon this point.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age, etc.; for now I have most need of thee. The white rose is soonest cankered; so is the white head soonest corrupted. Saepe nigrum cor est, caput album. Satan maketh a prey of old Solomon, Asa, Lot, others; whom when young he could never so deceive. The heathens, therefore, well warn us to look well to our old age, as that which cometh not alone, but is infested with many diseases, both of body and mind. This David knew, and, therefore, prayed as here: Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. He is a rare old man that can say with Caleb ( Joshua 14:10 Joshua 14:14 ), "Behold, the Lord hath kept me alive," etc. John Trapp.

Verse 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age, etc. 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, and to the world; a man who has reached the "Last scene of all that ends the strange, eventful history" -- that scene of

"Second childishness, and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything;"

that scene when one can say --

"I have lived long enough; my way of life
Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have;"

Who can think of all this and not pray for special grace for himself, should he live to see those days of infirmity and weakness? And who, in view of such infirmities, can fail to see the propriety of seeking the favour of God in early years? Albert Barnes.

Verse 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age, etc. David, mindful of the noble actions which, through God's assistance, he had achieved in his youth, beseeches him not to desert his servant, when persecuted by a rebellious son, in his old age. The weakness and temptations peculiar to that time of life, render this a petition necessary for all to make, before we are overtaken by it. The church findeth but too much occasion to make the same, now that she is sunk in years; when faith languisheth, charity waxeth cold, and the infirmities of a spiritual old age are coming fast upon her. George Horne.

Verse 9. Cast me not off. God had cast of his predecessor, Saul, and things looked as if he now meant to cast him off. His people also seemed disposed, by their joining with Absalom, to cast him off: hence the force of the petition. Andrew Fuller.

Verse 9. Forsake me not when my strength faileth. Neither will Christ forsake his church in the latter days of its age, when the weakness of faith becomes more prevalent. W. Wilson.

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 a small print, unless in a strong light.
  2. My strength is decayed, so that I walk much slower than I did some years since.
  3. My memory of names, whether of 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.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 9. There are some peculiar circumstances of old age which render this blessing -- the favour and presence of God -- necessary.

  1. Old age is a time of but little natural enjoyment, as

    Barzillai acknowledged, 2 Samuel 19:35.
    .
  2. It is a time of life in which the troubles of life

    are often known to increase.
  3. Old age is a time in which the troubles of life not

    only increase, but become less tolerable.
  4. Old age is a time which ought to command respect, and

    does so among dutiful children and all serious

    Christians: but it is often known to be attended with

    neglect. This is the case especially where they are

    poor and dependent. It has been the case where

    public characters have lost their youthful vivacity,

    and the brilliancy of their talents. A. Fuller.

Verse 9. There is,

  1. Fear, mixed with faith.
    1. Natural to old age.
    2. Suggested by the usage of the world.
    3. Faith mixed with fear: "Cast me not," etc.
    4. Old age is not a sin.
    5. It is a crown of glory if found, etc.