"They will still bear fruit in old age"
In Psalms 92:12-15, we find a description of the righteous...
1. In which they are described as palm trees and cedar trees
2. Flourishing in the house and courts of God
Psalms 92:12-15 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,15 proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
This passage certainly suggests that there is a place of service for the elderly in work of God. They are able to "bear fruit in old age" and remain "fresh and green", despite their old age.
God can and does use the elderly. We are going to consider the following people in the bible:-
I. GOD USED OLDER PEOPLE
MOSES AND AARON
1. God chose them to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt
2. God chose to use them at the ages of 80 and 83 - Exodus 7:77 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
3. God chose to use them when they were already past the normal life expectancy.
Psalm 90:1010 The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, (written by Moses)
JOSHUA AND CALEB
1. Joshua was given the responsibility of leading the defeat of Canaan,
during the last thirty years of his life (he lived until he was 110)
Josh 24:29 29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
2. Caleb was also very much involved in the defeat, and he was in his eighties.
Josh 14:6-11 6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' 10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigourous to go out to battle now as I was then.
1. He served God from the days of his youth, for over 70 years!
Daniel 1:21 21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
2. He was well over eighty when he:
a. Served as one of three governors over the kingdom of Babylon - Daniel 6:1-3
b. Was thrown into the lions' den - Daniel 6:4-27
c. Prospered in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus the Persian - Daniel 6:28
d. Received a series of visions - Daniel 8:12
ZACHARIAS AND ELIZABETH
1. These were the parents of John the Baptist
2. They were "both well advanced in years" - Luke 1:7 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
3. Yet he was serving in the temple, and she gave birth to John!
SIMEON AND ANNA
1. Two elderly people who bore witness to Jesus when presented to the temple to be Circumcised
Luke 2:25-3825Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." 33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." 36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
2. Anna herself was at least 84, and had been serving God "with fastings and prayers night and day"
PAUL, THE OLD MAN
1. As he refers to himself in Philemon 1: 9 9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul an - old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus
2. Yet we know at this time in his life, he was:
a. Busy writing letters to the churches even while in prison
b. Travelling, visiting, encouraging churches, when he was released from prison
There are many other examples of how God used those in their "latter years" to serve Him. These we have considered illustrate how the elderly can "still bear fruit in old age".
But what about today?
II. GOD STILL CAN USE OLDER PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH TODAY
A FUNCTION FOR OLDER WOMEN
1. Who will do what Paul commanded? To be "teachers of good things", especially to teach the younger women how to love their husbands, love their children, be good wives and homemakers. Titus 2:3-5 3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
2. To be "teachers of good things", especially to teach the younger women how to love
their husbands, love their children, be good wives and homemakers
A SERVICE THE ELDERLY CAN PROVIDE
1. Some examples:
a. Hospitality - Fellowship
e. Communication (letters/Phone Calls etc)
h. Whatever your mind and body allows - Just do it.
i. Prayer Luke 2: 37 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
What does the scripture encourage the elderly to do:-
“Declare his marvellous deeds....to the next generation”
a) Psalm 71: 17-18 17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
“ . . . . will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD”
b) Psalm 78:1-8 1O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old- 3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 They would not be like their forefathers a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
1. God will use people of all ages...
a. Who are willing to offer themselves to be of service to Him
2. We may retire from secular jobs through age or disabilities, but not from our service to the Lord!
a. Certainly physical infirmities may limit what we are able to do
b. But only death can stop us from doing what we can!
The righteous can and should "still bear fruit in old age".
Let "Paul, the old man" be an example:
Philippians 3:12-1512Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.