Through the Ages

May 6, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” — Psalms 71:9

In Psalm 71, David pleads with God from the vantage point of youth; in other words, David requests that one day, when he eventually grows old, God will continue to watch over him. It appears that David exhibits the anxieties of a man in his prime, worrying over the unknown that comes with age.

The ancient rabbis, however, offer an alternative explanation of the verse’s context. The rabbis explain that David speaks here not as a younger man, but as an elderly man who fears being forgotten in his old age. As the rabbinic sages portray it, David says, “When I was a young man, I went off to do battle on behalf of my people; but now that the vigor of youth has left me, please, Lord, do not forsake me.”

How often do all of us feel just as David felt? How often does youthful idealism give way, over time, to world-weary cynicism? Whether at the office, on a baseball field, in a relationship, or even at worship, it becomes increasingly difficult, year after year, to recover the energy we exuded in our younger days. The psalm writer encourages us to turn to God for a revitalization of the body and spirit.

But more importantly, we may glean from the rabbis’ interpretation of David’s plea a powerful lesson for living a fulfilling life. There are, of course, just a few of us who feel an intimate connection to God regardless of circumstances. For many of us, however, even if we know we should strive for a deeper connection to God, we find it difficult on a daily basis to seek divinity in our lives. After all, we’re so busy with other, mundane concerns – whether at work or at home – that we often convince ourselves that there’s no time to spend even a few moments contemplating our connection to the Almighty.

How powerful, then, is David’s sentiment in this verse? David fears not an increase in his responsibilities to God, but rather laments the difficulty of maintaining the same level of commitment as he did while a young man!

This sense of drive, of passion for the Divine should guide our own lives. No matter what age we are right now, if we find our spiritual lives worn and flagging, remember we can turn to God as our constant help and guide — from childhood to old age.





     

4 Responses to Through the Ages

  1. David Perry says:

    AMEN Rabbi, G-D Bless You Always!!!

  2. Susan Freeman says:

    Thank you for this beautiful devotional. My husband and I work with senior adults at our church and have for the past 15 yrs. God bless these precious saints. As I watched over my dying father and my mother in law while in a nursing facility I saw countless poor elderly folks never have a visitor or family member pay visits to them for extended periods of time. It broke my heart and I am so thankful that God reminds us that He will never forget us no matter how long He has chosen to let us live here on this earth before we can go home to be with Him. David asked the Lord to please remember him in his old age and that’s what I ask for these precious people as well. They have lived long productive lives and deserve our utmost respect and help in any way we can give it. We need to continue to lift them up in prayer that God would bless them with the ability to pray and feel His presence around them until they draw their last breath. I thank God for the privilege I’ve had of working with them and gaining so much wisdom from them over the years. So many are forgotten by people, but not by our Lord!

  3. Clarrisa Rae LeDeau says:

    Amen! A very good commentary! Our God is there no matter wat age we are, we need just to let Him in! ~ 8)

  4. REGINA MANFREDO says:

    DEAR RABBI ECKSTEIN

    CONGRATULATION’S ON THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER. MAY GOD BLESS HER ALL THE DAYS OF HER LIFE, AND MAY THE LIGHT OF THE LORD SHINE THROUGH HER AND UPON HER, AS IT ALSO DOES UPON HER MOTHER YAEL. YAEL HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

    SHALOM
    IN CHRIST

    REGINA MANFREDO

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