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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Privilege of Long Life"

July 31, 2005

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LORD, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

On February 21, 1986, a man in Japan, Shigechio Izumi, died at the age of 120 years. He was believed to have been the oldest person on earth.

Age is a relative thing: it varies from person to person. Moses lived to be 120 years old, and when he died, “his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone” (Deuteronomy 34:7). But he knew that not everybody would attain such an age with unabated strength. He writes in Psalm 90:10, “The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength.”

The gift of long life comes as a special favor of God, especially if it is attained in relatively good health. When giving the Ten Commandments, God said: "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). In writing to the Ephesians, Saint Paul calls this “the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:2-3). The promise of long life to children who honor their parents bespeaks a reward of divine grace, not of human merit.

The aging among us are honored by God, and they should be honored by us also. In the book of Leviticus we read: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God” (Leviticus 19:32). The aging in our homes, churches, and communities have much to share with us of their wisdom, experience, and maturity.

It follows, too, that the aging honor themselves by regarding themselves not as excess baggage or useless beings, but as persons whom God loves and blesses. How wonderful is God’s promise, spoken through the psalmist: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no wickedness in Him’” (Psalm 92: 12-15).

There is goodness and grace in God, who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to redeem with His life, death, and resurrection all people, both young and old.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for my life. Help me make it fruitful to the glory of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 116-118    1 Thessalonians 4

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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