Summary: There are life lessons to be learned from observing King David's aging and death.
Title: In His Old Age…
Text: I Kings 1:1-4 and 2:1-12
Thesis: There are life lessons to be learned from observing King David’s aging and dying.
Andy Rooney once said, “It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
I read a quote from George Bernard Shaw to the effect that, “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old; you grow old when you stop laughing.” I think there is something to that…
Though I know aging is not all it is cracked up to be, I do enjoy some of the humor that goes with the territory.
At the conclusion of his annual physical, an elderly man commented to his doctor that he was no longer able to help around the house like he used to and then asked, “In plain English Doc, what’s wrong with me?
The doctor said, “Well, in plain English, you are lazy!”
“Ok,” said the man, “can you give me the medical term so I can tell my wife?”
An elderly lady was overheard telling her friend about having recently joined an aerobics class for seniors at the local fitness center. “And how did it go?” asked her friend.
“Well,” she said, “I twisted, turned, jumped up and down, and perspired for half an hour, but by the time I got my leotard on, the class was ended.”
Though we may be able to find humor in aging, there comes a time when it isn’t funny anymore.
That is where we find King David this morning. He is old and it isn’t funny.
I. Human Frailty, I Kings 1:1-4
David, who was once a handsome young lad. In I Samuel 16:12 he is described as dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. After Samuel had anointed David to be the king to replace Saul the Scripture says, “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on.”
David went on to kill Goliath, Philistine warrior, with a well-placed stone flung from his slingshot to the giant’s forehead. When the Israelite army returned home after defeating the Philistine army the women of the towns along the way came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. And this was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands and David his ten thousands.” I Samuel 18:6-7
Saul was not happy and David then spent years in exile avoiding the wrath of the still reigning King Saul. And then following Saul’s death David assumed the throne.
And now, many years later, we find ourselves at I Kings 1. The once vigorous King is a prematurely frail, feeble and perhaps a bit addled 70 year-old man. Reading on from 1:5 we see that not only was David dealing with failing health, he no longer had a firm grip on his kingdom.
Just this week we learned the former President Jimmy Carter’s liver cancer has spread to other parts of his body. Over the years we have watched him actively involved in Habitat for Humanity. He became and continues to be a global statesman who is able and willing to go and do what diplomats cannot. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Now 90 years old, he is still going to work every day.
In contrast to a very vigorous 90 year old, in our text we find the 70 year old King David described as very old and no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm.
Application: What does this mean for us?
1. Aging is inevitable. You may be young today but you will not always be young. David experienced it. His son Solomon knew it was inevitable.
Before he became the very old man who could not get warm no matter how many blankets they piled on him he wrote Ecclesiastes 12, “Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your creator… before you grow old and say, ‘Life is not pleasant anymore.’ Remember him before the light of the sun, moon and stars is dim to your old eyes and rain clouds continue to darken the sky. Remember him before your legs start to tremble; and before your shoulders stoop. Remember him before your remaining teeth stop grinding; and before your eyes see dimly. Remember him before the door of life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white and you drag yourself along without energy like a dying grasshopper. Remember him before you near the grave when the mourners will weep at your funeral.”