June 19, 2014
""He just didn't end well,"" is a common phrase. Sadly, how a man finishes his life may dramatically define him. Most men I know want to go out with a bang, not a whimper. So how can our latter days be even more significant than our former?
Take a lesson from David in Psalm 71, which is subtitled by David, “Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.”
""Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come (vs. 3)
David, the shepherd-leader, often used the picture of a rock or fortress to describe his relationship with the Lord. But here he describes the constant nature of this protection. He asked the Lord to be a rock of “habitation."" This means a dwelling place, a permanent residence. And, David promises that He will ""continually come.""
If we are not careful we begin to look to other things as the source of our life and enabling. David reminds us to make our dependence so consistent that it looks like our permanent location. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were saying of us in the closing chapters of our life, “He lives in the presence of Christ!”
""For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. by You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb; my praise is continually of You!"" (vs. 5-6)
David understood God's contribution to every stage of his life. And he reminds his soul often of what God has done. “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” he said in the 103rd Psalm, “Let all that is within me bless His holy name.” This looking back made him grateful, and his gratitude erupted in not momentary, but sustained praise.
In fact, He says in vs. 14, ""And I will praise You yet more and more.” The oldest believers shouldn't be the grumpiest, but the greatest. They should be well educated in a lifestyle of praise.
""And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come."" (vs. 18)
David knew his highest and best use as an older man was to give those behind him a perspective they could not possibly have on their own. He felt responsible to declare to them the glories of trusting in God and experiencing His power. He wanted them to learn how to come to the Father, letting Him be their strength and trust, so that increased praise would swell to the One to whom it rightfully belongs.
The older He became, the more He longed for God to be famous among the next generation.
""You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again."" (vs. 20)
David knew God alone was the source of continuous reviving...not only for his life but for everyone. He kept asking for and seeking greater measures of revival in his own life and nation right up until his last breath.
Can I tell you a tale of two men?
In recent days, I have had the privilege again of being with one of the finest pastors and leaders I know, Don Moore. Don is 80 or so, and it seems to me he is at the pinnacle of his passion…and his joy. He is traveling and speaking across the state of Arkansas, calling people to cry out for revival and awakening in our day. Everything I’ve written about David, is true of this 21st century shepherd-leader.
Sid Carswell is a former missionary/pastor/hospital chaplain who is in our church. For the last two years or so he has come every single day at noon to the church to pray with any who will join him for revival and awakening in our day. Sid’s knees and hips are so bad it is excruciating to even walk. He fell a few weeks ago while leaving from this prayer time and broke his hip. I visited him at his home this week…and he’s still coming, still praising, still telling, and still seeking!
Dear Sustainer of my soul…give me the grace and strength to keep coming, keep praising, keep telling, and keep seeking more and more all the way to the end. May my increasing days give You increasing praise. Squeeze from my meager life, every ounce of usefulness available and may my last breath declare Your glory!
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