DECLARING God’s POWER to the PRESENT GENERATION: "O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come." (Psalms 71:17-18)
Psalm 71 is the testimony of an old man who is reflecting on God’s goodness to him over the years but who also had ongoing needs in his old age (v. 9). As he is being threatened by those who would harm him (v. 13), he prays that God will continue to preserve him (v. 18), and promises to proclaim God’s name to all who will hear him (v. 16). He then hopes that beyond this life God will vindicate the sufferings of this world with renewed life in the world to come (v. 20). This psalm can be divided into four parts: reflection on the past (vv. 1–6), request for the present (vv. 7–12), resolution for the future (vv. 13–18), and restoration at the end (vv. 19–24).
As the psalmist reflects on his past life, he is aware of one thing – God has taught him many things from his youth. He has gone through different life experiences from his young age until now, and these experiences have taught him lessons that are always useful and important. One of the lessons was that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Another lesson would be “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1). As an old man, the psalmist reflects on the countless ways how God had intervened during his life journey and had taught him invaluable lessons that are so precious to him. He had leaned on God many times and could speak about His all sufficiency to the new generation. So, the psalmist prays to God that he may be able to transmit his testimony to the youth so that they may be trained in the fear of God, and get intimately acquainted with the power of God so that they would be inspired to walk by faith as well.
The best gift that we can give to our present generation is to declare to them the strength and power of God that has worked in our lives. Just like the psalmist requests God to keep him alive until he has declared God’s strength to his generation and God’s power to the youth, let our prayer be that we too can pass on the lessons that we have learned during our life’s journey to our next generation so that they also will follow God intimately. Truly, that will be our life’s greatest achievement!