“Even to your old age and grey hairs I Am He, I Am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will carry you.”
What a wonderful text of Scripture containing one of the most precious of promises for every human being. Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached upon this text in a sermon preserved in the second volume of Spurgeon’s Sermons (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2011, p. 361-379). The sermon entitled “The God of the Aged” develops the theme of this text in Isaiah 46 by looking at the text’s doctrine and application to believers who are advancing in age. To me this is becoming a doctrine which grows sweeter with age. It has now been 41 years since I first gave my life to Christ. In the beginning years of my walk with Christ my faith was strong but untested. Now it has been tempered in the testing fires of life and has as a result become more precious. As Spurgeon focus our attention on the doctrine in this text his desire is for us to focus upon God’s faithfulness to His covenant promise to us in love. He is unchanging and therefore remains faithful in the carrying out of His unchanging purpose to redeem us through the cross of Christ. There is more here however. When we take a careful look at this text some other doctrines leap out at us.
1) As Spurgeon stated our God is unchangingly faithful to His promise to love us sacrificially. For Him to become unfaithful would be to deny His very nature. Isaiah cries out “I Am He!” God’s Name, His very nature tells us that He will be faithful because He is the eternal, covenant keeping God. He will not become ill, or weary, or uninterested in the promise He has made to us. This is true over the whole span of our lives. It is also true over all of the years since the LORD Jesus Christ was crucified. In fact it is true over all of the years of recorded history.
2) The doctrine of humanity is found here as well. We are described as those in old age with grey hair. There was a time when we were youths. All of the future was before us. We revelled in our strength and energy, feeling that nothing was impossible for us. The years have passed and the toxic consequences of sin have borne their fruit in our lives. With each passing day we find ourselves feeling that our best days are behind us. Here is a wonderful learning opportunity for us however. The LORD is preparing us for eternity. We may be weakening but we are also discovering that He is unchanged. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) He is trustworthy to continue to lead us in the same way He did when He first called us to faith.
3) This is a promise of great scope and comfort for all who put their trust in Christ. For the youth just beginning to follow Jesus it is a promise that the ending of their lives they will find that He is still faithfully with them. For the middle aged who are just beginning to see the weakening of their physical bodies it is a promise that He who called you is still faithfully working out that same calling today. For the aged who feel that they can no longer serve the LORD with the vitality they once had it is a promise that His grace is still sufficient for their every need. It has always been about grace. It has never been about our own personal strength.
4) For each of us, no matter what our age it is another promise as well. This is that He is mighty to save us today. Many have reflected upon the necessity of evangelising the young. It is then that they can most easily be brought to Christ we think. The reality is that the work of evangelism is an impossible work at any age if we are depending upon our flesh to accomplish it. It is not our work, it is the LORD’s. Nothing is impossible for Him. He can save the youth and how we rejoice when a youth comes to put their faith in Christ. He can also save the elderly. It brings even greater joy to us when an aged man or woman comes to faith in Christ. About twenty years ago an eighty eight year old man surprised his young Pastor with a simple question. “Can you baptize an old man?” It seems that after a lifetime of living as an unbeliever this man had come to understand the Gospel and had given his life to Christ. He then said to his Pastor “I have been living for myself all these years. Now I want to live the rest of my life for Him. I must bear witness to my faith in Christ because I have children and grandchildren who must come to know that it is necessary at any age for a person to begin to follow Christ.” About a year later an eighty year old woman with a heart condition moved into a home near our Church, she began to attend services and gave her life to Christ. One Sunday she showed up at the Church Service with a doctor’s note stating that her health was sufficiently good for her to be baptized by total immersion. She had done her homework so that she could bear testimony to her new found faith before family and friends. As each of these senior saints was baptized there was not a dry eye in the Church such was our joy in what the LORD had done. The lesson that we learned on those days was that our faithful God has the power to save anyone at any age who comes to the LORD Jesus Christ in faith.