"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; ⁴even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." —Isaiah 46:3-4
Once every month I gather with the seniors of our congregation. It is a time that I value very much and, as I can see in their faces, it is also a special time for them. We sing hymns, we share the Word of God, and Ramona, the hostess, cooks some delicious delicacies for the group. But from time to time, we remember some of our fallen comrades, the ones that are now with our Lord, and we are also aware of others that might not be with us in the near future. Last week we studied this same passage and it was of great comfort for their souls.
How could it be otherwise? Spurgeon summarized the teachings in this passage this way: “God himself is the same, whatever may be our age; and that God’s dealings towards us, both in providence and in grace, his carryings and his deliverings, are alike unchanged.” Here Spurgeon highlights how constant is God’s love for His people. He is the God of the saints of every age, from the womb to the tomb.
This is especially valuable for old age; it will make the difference between an old man who glorifies God and one that doesn’t and who is therefore confused despite being a believer.
The Bible shows that in old age man comes to say: “the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Barzillai, in his old age, did good to David and David wanted to reward him with a pleasant life. Barzillai's answer was “I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king” (2 Samuel 19:35)?
In old age the appetite diminishes, strength decays, and our dexterity is with us no more. What’s left is our fragility, loneliness, a feeling of abandonment, fear, and the wait of death. So even the best Christians end up calling these the bad days.
But God, he says, I who have held you, sustained and freed you, I will continue to hold you, sustain you, and free you until I receive you in my arms (Luke 23:26). So the God of your youth is the God of your old age. Do you remember those glorious days? Those days where you were really useful in the service of the Kingdom? The God that gave you those strengths, is doing it now even if you do not perceive it, and He expects you to honor Him until your very last day (John 21:19), showing gratitude.
God is emphatic in showing you that He is the one strengthening you. He could send His angels to do this for Him (Matthew 4:6), but this is not what He says here: “I will… I will bear you. I’ve done it, and I will hold you; I will sustain you, and I will free you.”
Live your life thankful for His presence and particular care for you so you can enjoy each day on this earth.
What happens in your heart every time you become one year older?
How do you feel when you realize that your physical strength is diminishing?
How can considering the personal and immutable care and love of God for you change the way you see your old age?