A Special Reminder & An Encouragement to Elderly Believers

2 Peter 1:13,14; Joshua 13:1

I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): God puts Joshua in mind of his old age―Note, old people should be reminded by the growing infirmities of age to do quickly, and with all the little might they have, what their hand finds to do. The consideration of the uncertainty of the time of our departure out of the world―about which God has wisely kept us in the dark―should quicken us to do the work of the day in its day…We must make hay while the sun shines.

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748): Do I observe the declining day, and the setting sun sinking into darkness? So declines the day of life, the hours of labour, and the seasons of grace.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): This life, upon which every thing depends, is very brief: this is fearful. Look at the images of Scripture: a flower of the field; a flood; a watch in the night; a dream; a vapour.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Our time is short…The devil is therefore more mischievous because he knows “he hath but a short time,” Revelation 12:12―Oh, “learn for shame of the devil,” as Hugh Latimer said once; therefore to do your utmost, because “the time is short,” or “rolled up,” as sails used to be when the ship draws nigh to the harbour. This argument prevailed much with Peter to bestir him in stirring up those he wrote unto, because he knew that he must “shortly put off his tabernacle.”

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): It is a rare thing to see a man in old age naturally vigorous, healthy, and strong; and would it were not more rare to see any spiritually so at the same season!

MATTHEW HENRY: As long as we live we should be endeavouring to glorify God and edify one another…Old age affords a great opportunity for usefulness. Especially, if it be a good old age. Theirs may be called a good old age, that are old and healthful, not loaded with such distempers as make them weary of life; and that are old and holy, old disciples whose hoary head is “found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31)―old and useful, old and exemplary for godliness; theirs is indeed a good old age.

JOHN TRAPP: Some men live long, but are good for little.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): What sloth in old age!

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): They are tempted to take things easier, spiritually as well as temporally, so that it has to be said of some “ye did run well.”―So many leave their first love, lose the joy of their espousals, and instead of setting before younger Christians a bright example of trustfulness and cheerfulness, they often discourage by gloominess and slothfulness.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): It is a rare case to find a man in old age full of faith, love, and spiritual activity.

A. W. PINK: In this connection let us remind ourselves of that verse, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s,” Psalm 103:5…But how is the eagle’s youth renewed? By a new crop of feathers, by the rejuvenation of its wings. And that is precisely what some middle-aged and elderly Christians need: the rejuvenation of their spiritual wings—the wings of faith, of hope, of zeal, of love for souls, of devotedness to Christ.

MATTHEW HENRY: As thy days, so shall thy strength be, Deuteronomy 33:25. Many paraphrase it thus, “The strength of thy old age shall be like that of thy youth; thou shalt not feel a decay, nor be the worse for the wearing, but shalt renew thy youth.”―And, as for old men, it is promised that they shall fill their days with the fruits of righteousness, which they shall still bring forth in old age, to show that the Lord is upright, Psalm 92:14,15.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” This is here promised unto believers as an especial grace and privilege…The grace intended is, that when believers are under all sorts of bodily and natural decays, and, it may be, overtaken with spiritual decays also, there is provision made in the covenant to render them fat, flourishing, and fruitful―vigorous in the power of internal grace, and flourishing in expression of it in all the duties of obedience.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Nature decays but grace thrives. Fruit, as far as nature is concerned, belongs to days of vigour; but in the garden of grace, when plants are weak in themselves, they become strong in the Lord, and abound in fruit acceptable with God. Happy they are who can sing Psalm 92, enjoying the rest which breathes through every verse of it; no fear as to the future can distress them, for their evil days, when the strong man faileth, are the subject of a gracious promise, and therefore they await them with quiet expectancy. Aged believers possess a ripe experience, and by their mellow tempers and sweet testimonies they feed many. Even if bedridden, they bear the fruit of patience; if poor and obscure, their lowly and contented spirit becomes the admiration of those who know how to appreciate modest worth. Grace does not leave the saint when the keepers of the house do tremble; the promise is still sure though the eyes can no longer read it.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Grace is often in the greatest vigour when nature is decayed; witness Abraham, Job, David, Zachariah, and Elisabeth, and good old Simeon, who went to the grave like shocks of corn, fully ripe.

A. W. PINK: O to be like “Paul the aged” (Philemon 1:9), who was in full harness to the end…The most active worker in a church of which I was pastor, was seventy-seven years old when I went there, and during my stay of three and a half years she did more for the Lord, and was a greater stimulus to me than any other member of that church. She lived another eight years, and they were, to the very end, filled with devoted service to Christ.

MATTHEW HENRY: The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work is their best work…When we see death hastening towards us, this should quicken us to do the work of life with all our might.

JOHN TRAPP: Thou hast not long to do; up therefore and be doing; work while it is yet day; the night of death cometh, when none can work, John 9:4.

A. W. PINK: Instead of saying, “The days of my usefulness are over,” rather reason, “The night cometh when no man can work, therefore I must make the most of my opportunities while it is yet called day.”

JOHN TRAPP: Up, therefore, and be doing, that the Lord may be with you.


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