The Prayer of an “Old Preacher”
We may not think of that shepherd boy as a preacher, but perhaps we should. When David arrived at the battlefront, almost every word he spoke proclaimed the power and majesty of God. His words give great insight into the heart that God described as being like His own heart. David’s older brother saw him as a youth who had abandoned the sheep and said David was filled with pride and was insolent in his heart (1 Sam. 7:28). But he was wrong.
That young man had seen the providence of God when he killed a bear and a lion who were ready to kill a helpless lamb. David knew God’s nature and the challenge of Goliath had to be answered. He was not concerned about how big that giant was, for he knew how big God was!
As a youth he had also faced sin’s temptation and dealt with it. He showed how a young man could cleanse his heart “by taking heed according to Your word” (Psa. 119:9). It was in the sheepfold that he learned of God’s green pastures, still waters, the rod, the staff and the cup overflowing with oil.
Yet he was not always a young man. His words in Psalm 71:17-18 give us great insight into the devotion he had first as a youth and the devotion he had in his old age. Look at the words of that psalm.
“O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”
David knew God from his youth and he had declared God’s glory to others. He knew God and he unashamedly taught others about Him. What was he like as he grew old?
“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.”
David understood that the truths which he had used to cleanse his young heart were the same truths that following generations needed to cleanse their hearts. They needed them because God’s words are eternal and truth does not change. David said, “The entirety of Your word is truth and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psa. 119:160). He had taught those truths as a young man and now as he grew old he asked God to continue using him.
Read his words again. Every generation needed God’s words, and David emphasized that that needed the entirety of His words—every single one of His righteous judgments. Mankind does not change. The needs of every generation are the same. God’s remedy for sin does not change.
It was an older generation who taught young David. He owed them a great debt. The same is true of you!