Grab your notes for this episode by completing the form
and we will send you the link to all our notes.

Follow the podcast

* indicates required

Old age should carry honour for faithfulness and wisdom, but it includes shame as life and body fall apart. Enemies gather like vultures to grab what they can. Looking back, one longs to ensure that the next generation knows the stories of God’s grace and power over a life redeemed.

Dan: [0:01] Hi everyone and welcome to Training for Life Redeems. I’m Dan, here with my father David Jackson.

We are continuing to look at Psalms. We’re looking at Psalm 71 today.

I’m going to hand over straight away for Dad to read the Psalm for us.


Psalm 71

Psalm 71:1–8 Overwhelming Grace

1 In you Yahweh I seek refuge.

Let me not be ashamed forever.

2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me.

Turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be to me a lofty lair where I can come continually.

Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 My God deliver me from the hand of the wicked;

from the grasp of those who do wrong and are ruthless.


5 For you are my hope my Lord Yahweh,

my secure place from my youth.

6 On you I have relied from the womb of my mother.

You are the one who cut my bilical cord.

I praise you continually.

7 I have become like a miracle to many,

and you are my strong shelter.

8 My mouth is filled with your praise;

with your splendour all day long.


Psalm 71:9–13 Hang On To Me

9 Do not cast me off during the time of old age,

as if to finish my strength.

Don’t abandon me.

10 For my enemies say things about me,

and they are watching over my life.

They consult together,

11 saying “God abandoned him.

Go after him and seize him, because there is no deliverer.”


12 God do not be distant from me.

My God,` my helper, hurry.


13 Let them be shamed and finished, the adversaries of my life.

Let them wrap themselves in reproach and disgrace who seek my damage.


Psalm 71:14 –20 I Have Stories To Tell

14 I will continually wait,

and keep doing according to all your praises.

15 My mouth will recount your righteousness all day long;

your salvation because I do not know how many.

16 I come by the mighty deeds of my Lord Yahweh.

I remember your righteousness, yours alone.


17 God you taught me from my youth even until now.

I will declare your wonderful deeds;

18 even until old age and grey hair.

God do not abandon me until I declare your strength

to each generation that comes, your mighty works;

19 Your righteousness, God, to the heights,

the great things which you do;

 (God, who is like you?)

20 the things that you show me.

You turn back many distresses and damages.

You preserve me.

Even from the depths of the earth you turn back and bring me up.


Psalm 71:21–24 Let Me Write the Songs

21 Increase my dignity and surround me.

You comfort me.

22 Also I will praise you with instrents, with a harp.

Your reliability, my God

I will make music to you with lyre,

Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips will sing out when I make music to you,

and my life which you ransomed.

24 Also all day long my tongue will mull over your righteousness,

for those who seek my damage are ashamed because they are hiliated.


Dan: Well, Dad, we’re coming to the end of David’s life here in this psalm. It doesn’t say it’s a psalm of David, but it very much resembles his life, and we’ve got plenty of things in there to hint to us that it’s him.

I think it’s really cool how this psalm starts off, right, and it’s talking about, you know, God is his refuge and all that kind of stuff. But he also talks about, you know, the life that he’s had and how it’s an inspiration for others, and it still is very much today the case where people look back at David, at his life, at his faithfulness, at least for the first half of his life.

We still tell the story of David and his rise to fame, how he escaped Saul, how he came up to become the king that was after God’s own heart.

And so he’s really capturing that at the beginning here in this psalm.

David: He does, and it’s…

And I picture this as the song of David’s retirement, except that he didn’t retire. He just grew old and died.

[3:53] But the more I mean, I’m 72 and I’m reading this song and I’m going, yeah, that about ss it up.

As you look around and you look at the elderly people in our culture, let alone in our churches, and then you look at David’s experience.

So one of the things we learn to do with Psalms is that they set up what I call patterns. Theologians call them types. So you have this set of experience that forms a pattern, and lots of other people, their life experience fills into that pattern. And each one is different, but it’s sort of the same.

And then when you get to Jesus, he fulfills the pattern. and then when you come over to you and me, we’re part of that same story.

[4:43] Jesus didn’t get old. [4:47] But you look at this particular song and David is reflecting on “you are my God, you cut my bilical cord.” I love that line.

My whole life is planned. You’ve been my God from the start. You’ve never abandoned me. And now I’m old and I’ve got all these issues. and so he’s singing those issues to God. And it’s the kind of song that I think every retiree who knows the Lord could join in.

Imagine this old people’s choir in four-part harmony singing about this stuff.

But it’s really important because when you get into some of these sort of conflicting emotions, to resolve them in a Godly way, and keep them in tune with how God feels about that stage of life. [5:43] The song teaches you to get your head on straight and get your heart on straight.

And so David is, yeah, let me not be ashamed forever.

It’s the second line, you know.

[5:59] But he goes over, he looks at his life experience and God’s faithfulness, but he’s still calling on God to deliver him from the wicked.

Dan: Yeah, he does talk a lot about, as he’s getting older, he wants God to stay with him, to not ditch him in his old age, that he’s king, and so he’s got all the dramas of being an old king and other people who want to come up into power who are underneath him.

So how does that impact what’s going on in this psalm, Dad, as we continue to go through with this old man?

David: Yeah, don’t cast me off during the time of my old age, verse 9, as if to finish my strength.

And so you’ve got this great warrior, this war hero, and now you imagine David walking around with a walker. Yeah. [6:52] There’s a sense of physical shame that comes with old age and your body falling apart. and in that process looking back on the dignity of his past history particularly, and going you know i this is not where i want to be you know the more the days when you get up and saying when do i get my new body. so there’s that element of the song but there’s also this time of sitting there and reflecting and going the memories of the things that God has done for me, the events, the stories, will they be forgotten?

Will people forget all the amazing things that God did, the lessons that he taught?

So it’s not only, you know, rescue my physical ailments, rescue my social dignity but what are we going to do with all these stories of what you’ve done?

Dan: yeah, well, he’s going to talk about, you know, he’s going to continually tell these stories from generation to generation.

[7:56] And yeah, it’s one of the things I think that these days we neglect within the church, particularly in the West, is that we see the old people, they get older and then we’re like, well, now they’re old and we focus on the next generation or whatever it is. But we forget to sit at the feet of the elderly and learn from them, from their stories.

[8:20] We always get excited about the teenager who has this testimony about how God’s changed their life or whatever, but you forget to go back to the old people, the number of times that God’s changed their life. Yeah. and the things that they’ve seen, the number of times that they’ve seen God working and changing other people’s lives and then being used as a tool.

There’s a lot of blessing that you get when you sit at the feet of the elderly and listen to their wisdom.

David: Yeah, and I think in our Western culture we’ve totally lost that.

Grandpa’s telling stories is boring. [8:56] We’ve heard that story three times. You know, that’s old people’s mistakes. [9:02] But there’s nobody there who wants to listen. And I look at indigenous culture, for example, where the elders take the children and the young people and tell the stories, and through telling the stories, they pass on the skills and the wisdom. And David has done that by writing all these songs.

So he teaches the next generation the songs, and we teach these to the next generation.

And God said back in Deuteronomy, teach these things to subsequent generations. We’re not doing that.

We run Bible studies that are, I think, more like just a social gathering than actually learning much, but we don’t value the wisdom and the knowledge that comes with experience.

So yes, I mean, how many times have I listened to an 18-year-old or a 20-year-old give their testimony and I’m sitting here at 72 going yeah i remember being in a youth group of 120 people 20 of them are still believers Go talk to the people who persevered yeah go talk to the people who learned from their mistakes talk to so for example you know it fascinates me when you go to a counsellor most counsellors are into counselling because their lives went down the toilet.

[10:25] So, you know, I had a bad experience and now I can understand other people with bad experiences.

I don’t go to them for marriage counselling.

[10:36] I had a bitter divorce, I was domestic violence, all this stuff.

I want to learn how to get marriage right, not to sit around and feel warm, fuzzy with people who had a disaster.

I want to go and find, and as a young man, that’s what I did.

I went and found older people, godly men, who had good marriages, good families, disciplined their kids well, and I wanted to go and learn from them. And I made a pest of myself by visiting them.

Them you know you just turn up on their door and say hi can i have a cup of tea Dan: and that element too of you know being mentored and that i don’t know what else well the words around these like the apprentice model that’s people training you for life that’s going to be a redeemed life yeah right that’s something that you know you want you want the younger married people to go to the married couples who have gone through all the hard stuff and are still together together yeah to and you know pretty much any any old couple who is still together has gone through hard stuff and that’s just a that’s just a given but you don’t don’t look at the old couple who are still together think oh they’ve been cute they must have loved each other it’s been released their entire time no no way they probably would nearly divorce six times throughout that.

[11:51] It’s they’ve done life together and it’s we’re missing that sense of the younger generation going and looking for the older generation to learn from and to get that wisdom and to learn from the people who have been successful in things.

David: [12:05] It’s impacting me strongly at the minute. I’ve been reading Titus, and you read the Psalms similarly.

And in the Psalms, we are God’s forever family.

So in the New Testament epistles, the writers are addressing other believers as children of God. They are God’s children. John writes, my dear children.

When you go through that and you realize this is how it works, it’s elders and children hanging out together. And…

[12:36] When I walk into an evangelical church, any evangelical church, we send the children out. We have church for the adults. The old people sit where the old people sat. But the music is not theirs. The culture is not theirs. We’re aiming for the median group of people.

And the message to old people, even retired ministers and whatever, whatever you’ve done, is very much thanks for coming. We’re glad you’re here. Leave us your money when you die.

You sort of have that feeling that we’re looking to the middle of the young culture and pushing those people aside. And David feels that.

Here he is, the king of Israel, and they’re treating the king of Israel like that.

You know, off you go to your retirement home, Grandpa. you know put your feet up you know learn to knit or something i don’t know but leave us alone because we’re with it we’re cool we know you know we’re out there doing stuff, And you go, there’s a treasure that just got lost. So David is, I just love the way he talks about, God taught me from my youth even till now, I will declare your wonderful deeds even till old age and grey hair. [14:02] To each generation that comes, your mighty works, your righteousness to the heights, all the great things that you do.

He’s got stories to tell. and I look at that and I think, yeah.

[14:16] And then his next comment is, increase my dignity.

You know, where’s your dignity when you walk into church with a walker? You know, I look at those people and I think, wow.

We had a guy, I’ll tell stories. Yeah, good. Tell your stories. I’ll get away with it.

We were at a Baptist church here and there was an old fellow used to come in he was white haired and sort of shrivelled up and a bit unstable on his pins, and his grandchildren were students at our school so i got they told me oh grandpa goes to your church let’s go and say hi to grandpa so we went and said hello grandpa and we got to know him and eventually i got a copy of his he’d written up his life story so here’s a guy who’s born of missionary parents in Shanghai in China in the 1900s.

This is some time ago. So he grows up in China. [15:16] He goes to medical school in China. So he gets a degree in medicine from a Chinese university speaking fluent Mandarin.

His parents are missionaries. So there’s a church and they’re doing all this missionary work, Hudson Taylor extension.

[15:34] And then in come the Japanese during World War II. He’s a prisoner of war, but he’s also a Russian citizen.

So he’s got German or Swiss and Russian parents. So he’s neutral.

So he’s out of the picture sort of thing.

[15:57] And anyway, all of these stories of how they survived the Japanese occupation, as Christians when they’re beheading, Japanese are beheading people and slaughtering Shanghai, survives all of that.

And then the stories of how they come back to Australia and made a new life and met his wife in Australia in a migrant hostel in Manly.

And you go through that and the wisdom of God’s people doing God’s work in a stinking world and the dignity of a man who’s done all of that and been faithful to his wife and raised his family.

And you go, this is a man worth knowing and greeting when you come into church.

[16:44] And so many fellas like that that we’ve bumped into over the years i don’t think our kids meet those people. i don’t think our youth group meets those people they don’t even come to church with them they go at night so they don’t meet this we aren’t family they’re no grandpas and uncles and David’s saying increase my dignity while everybody else is saying you know you should you’d go to the 8 o’clock service because you’re old and they’ll sing your songs.

How do we change that culture? My lips will sing out when I make music to you.

[17:22] Well, when you get old, you don’t because the music changed.

And so you see the old people standing there going, it’s too loud and I don’t know the songs and, you know.

David’s having that experience. For those who seek my damage or shame because they’re humiliated, this shame, respect, value, stories, God’s wonders that he’s done, you’ve got to learn this. You’ve got to know what he did for me.

It’s just spilling out of him in this song. And so I think this is the song for retirees who know the Lord and have survived.

[18:02] And it’s his last song in this book. It’s actually, I think, his last song effectively in the Psalms.

The next one is by Solomon, his son’s song as he hands the kingdom on.

And then the last line is the prayers of David are ended. And so we’ve told the story from Psalm 1 to Psalm 71.

Dan: Well, guys, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you hit the subscribe button.

If you want to grab the study notes and go deeper with this, please head to

Yeah, good. We’re doing good. We’re doing good.

  1. Got to remember those numbers. It’s getting too big.

And yeah, if you are a retiree, go and read that. And if you’re younger, read it and learn how to learn from the older, from those older than you and more wise.

All right, guys. Thanks for this week. We’ll chat to you again next week with our last Psalm for this process. This series. Yeah, Psalm 72 next week.