NOW ALSO WHEN I AM OLD AND GRAY-HEADED, O GOD, FORSAKE ME NOT
from Spurgeon’s ‘Treasury of David’
Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to everyone that is to come.
I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God: unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel.
My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee; and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed. [Psalm 71:14-23]
“NOW ALSO WHEN I AM OLD AND GRAY-HEADED, O GOD, FORSAKE ME NOT. God exalts pardoning grace to some more, and sanctifying grace to others; he is the God of grace. Those ships that have been in long voyages at sea, three or four years out, have gone through hot climates and cold, passed the equinoctial line again and again, and have run through many a difficulty, and great storms, and yet have been kept alive at sea, as they speak, when these shall meet one another at sea near the haven, how will they congratulate? And old disciples should do so, that God hath kept grace alive in their souls.
And I would ask you how many thousand ships have you seen cast away before your eyes? How many that have made “shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, “as the apostle speaks? This and that profession, that has run into this and that error damnable, or false opinions and teaching, though all of smaller moment; others that have struck upon quicksands of worldly preferments, and many split upon rocks, and yet YOU HAVE BEEN KEPT.
This should move you to bless this your God, the God of grace, the more. Come, let me knock at your hearts; are none of you old professors, like old hollow oaks, who stand in the woods among professors still, and keep their stand of profession still, and go to ordinances, etc.; but the “rain they drink in, “as the apostle’s word is, serves to no other end but to rot them. “These are nigh unto cursing.” Or, have you green fruits still growing on you, as quickly and lively affections to God and Christ, and faith and love, as at the first, and more abounding? O bless God you are so near the haven, and lift up your hearts, your redemption draws near; and, withal, raise your confidence, that that God of grace, who hath called you into his eternal glory, will keep you for it, and possess you of it shortly.” – THOMAS GOODWIN.
FORSAKE ME NOT; UNTIL, etc. Apostasy in old age is fearful. He that climbs almost to the top of a tower, then slipping back, hath the greater fall. The patient almost recovered, is more deadly sick by a relapse. There were stars struck from heaven by the dragon’s tail (Re 12:4); they had better never have perched so high. The place where the Israelites fell into that great folly with the daughters of Moab, was in the plain, within the prospect of the Holy Land; they saw their inheritance, and yet fell short of it. So wretched is it for old men to fall near to their very entry of heaven, as old Eli in his indulgence (1 Samuel 2); old Judah in his incest (Genesis 38); old David with Bathsheba; old Asa trusting in the physicians more than in God (2Ch 16:12); and old Solomon built the high places.
Some have walked like cherubs in the midst of the stones of fire, yet have been cast as profane out of God’s mountain. Eze 28:14,16. Thus the seaman passeth all the main, and suffers wreck in the haven. The corn often promises a plenteous harvest in the blade, and shrinks in the ear. You have seen trees loaden with blossoms, yet, in the season of expectation, no fruit. A comedy that holds well many scenes, and goes lamely off in the last act, finds no applause.
Remember Lot’s wife (Lu 17:32): think on that pillar of salt, that it may season thee. – Thomas Adams.
[Quoted from Spurgeon’s ‘Treasury of David’]