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Getting Old isn't for Sissies

Losing Alleluias   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Growing old isn’t for Sissies

I know what you mean. Its been a rough six months. I have taken several steps in the aging process. I’ve been graying for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed I keep adding salt to my pepper. I’ve also added bifocals, because everything was starting to get blurry. I got a chiropractor here in town because my back went out doing what I thought was mundane movement. And three days ago I discovered 2 white hairs in my beard.

Psalmist on Aging, fraility, & illness

psalmists refer to ailments from head to toe and every point in-between. His hair has turned gray (71:18), his ears deaf (38:13, 14), and his face is covered with shame (44:15; 69:7). He is unable to speak (38:13–14; 77:4) except with moans (77:3) and groans (102:3), in part because his mouth is dried up (22:15) and his throat parched (69:3). God has fed the poet the “bread of tears” (80:5), and the psalmist has mixed tears with his drink (102:9). And, while his eyes have looked to the Lord for mercy (123:2; 141:8), they waste away (6:7; 31:9), grow dim (69:3; 88:9), and cannot see (40:12) because their light is gone (38:10). In a similar fashion, the psalmist’s hands are stretched out (77:2; 88:9; 143:6) and lifted to God for help (141:2), while his body wastes away (102:4), withers (102:11), and becomes gaunt (109:24). His emaciated condition is evident from bones that waste away (31:10), cling to his skin (102:3), and protrude so far that they can be counted (22:17). More painful, his bones are shaking (6:2), out of joint (22:14), crushed (51:8),  He stumbles around on weak knees (109:24), with an aching back (129:3), shriveled feet (22:16), and unending pain (38:17; 69:29). Deadly wounds (42:10) that fester and stink from infection (38:5) contribute to his failing strength (31:10) and to his fainting and failing spirit (77:3; 142:3; 143:4, 8). After all this, it comes as no surprise that the poet(s) also has heart problemsa heart that throbs (38:10), melts like wax (22:14), burns (39:3), faints (61:2), and fails (40:12).
psalmists refer to ailments from head to toe and every point in-between. His hair has turned gray (71:18), his ears deaf (38:13, 14), and his face is covered with shame (44:15; 69:7). He is unable to speak (38:13–14; 77:4) except with moans (77:3) and groans (102:3), in part because his mouth is dried up (22:15) and his throat parched (69:3). God has fed the poet the “bread of tears” (80:5), and the psalmist has mixed tears with his drink (102:9). And, while his eyes have looked to the Lord for mercy (123:2; 141:8), they waste away (6:7; 31:9), grow dim (69:3; 88:9), and cannot see (40:12) because their light is gone (38:10). In a similar fashion, the psalmist’s hands are stretched out (77:2; 88:9; 143:6) and lifted to God for help (141:2), while his body wastes away (102:4), withers (102:11), and becomes gaunt (109:24). His emaciated condition is evident from bones that waste away (31:10), cling to his skin (102:3), and protrude so far that they can be counted (22:17). More painful, his bones are shaking (6:2), out of joint (22:14), crushed (51:8),  He stumbles around on weak knees (109:24), with an aching back (129:3), shriveled feet (22:16), and unending pain (38:17; 69:29). Deadly wounds (42:10) that fester and stink from infection (38:5) contribute to his failing strength (31:10) and to his fainting and failing spirit (77:3; 142:3; 143:4, 8). After all this, it comes as no surprise that the poet(s) also has heart problems—a heart that throbs (38:10), melts like wax (22:14), burns (39:3), faints (61:2), and fails (40:12).

is written by David as he struggles with a near death experience. His illness has brought him to the point of death and he is dealing with the struggles that present themselves in this season of life.
He affirms God’s faithfulness to the obedient in verses 1-3 culminating in a motivational statement
Psalm 41:3 ESV
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
In verses 4-10 we experience the lament of David’s situation. He clearly doesn’t look back on his life to this point as a total waste, in fact he pointed to it as motivation for the LORD to act on his behalf. Yet in verses 4-10 we hear the hurt in his tone as be brings is requests & complaints to God.
Psalm 41:4 ESV
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
He points first to his need for grace. He doesn’t pretend he has been perfect, nor is he now. Before he can make the big ask to God he realizes he needs to be right with God. Which also requires God’s action in being gracious to David.
Psalm 41:5–6 ESV
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?” And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
Psalm 41:5 ESV
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
Psalm 41:5–7 ESV
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?” And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad. All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
His enemies
He calls them enemies, but they can’t clearly be enemies because how would they be allowed to visit the King while he is so vulnerable. My guess is these are men of his court, at least country, who see the potential for their own future and perceive the aging king as an obstacle to their future.
It is hard to be put aside because we are seen not as an asset but as an obstacle. When we are used to feeling valuable and a specific purpose to only be cast aside so the big wheel can turn.
Psalm 41:9 ESV
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
Psalm 41:9
What about the children we raise, we protect, and provide for, we wipe their noses and kiss their wounds. We get things that are too high and heavy for them to grasp. Now the hour glass turns and we don’t feel like a necessity but a burden.
Or worse when we think they perceive us as a liability.
But even as chronic pain increases and strength wanes, faith flexes....
Psalm 41:11–13 ESV
By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
Psalm 41:11-12

I Know He is thinking of Me

In the best selling novel by Bo Giertz, titled, “The Hammer of God.” He tells the stories of 3 pastors who fall short of their pastoral duties through public humiliation, self-doubt, inability to accept God's promises in their own lives, and divisions and quarreling among their parishioners. Ultimately each man rejects temptations and permits the Holy Spirit to work through him.
The last story is of a young rector who is called into the parish to relieve the older Vicar. The young rector is zealous for the call to follow Jesus and is disappointed in the Vicar’s habit. The Vicar lets the congregants to themselves for the most part, and spends his evenings drinking sherry with the old nun. The young rector thinks it is the vicars fault the congregants haven’t lived in pure obedience to Christ because of his lack of shepherding.
With gusto he begins his preaching and teaching ministry calling the members of their community into action with impassioned sermons, home bible studies, and teaching of christian discipline. Things go sideways when two of his congregants get into a huge fight over a trade they were conducting and the rector is appalled by the slip into sin he sees in his “faithful” followers. The Vicar saves him on that story.
It was a Saturday, and that afternoon he is called out to parishioners house, one of young followers reaches out because her father, also a member of the parish is dying. He goes to the home and climbs the stairs to the man’s room. He finds the woman kneeling next to her father’s bedside holding his hand across is chest and watching him with swollen eyes. The man’s breathing is shallow but rhythmic. The rector takes his place sitting with the family and praying for the old man. As the hours pass into the late night, he affirms the promises of Jesus and the hope of life in his name.
His daughter asks him, “Are you thinking of Jesus, papa?” and the man breaks his hours long silence, “No.” “I’m too tired.” At this declaration of loss of faith his daughter bursts into tears and falls to the floor sobbing. Then he speaks again, “but I know he’s thinking of me.”
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