Weekly Devotionals – 15 April 2024

“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32)

This verse teaches us to honour the elderly and treat them with respect and dignity. We can and should honour them for their seniority out of common courtesy as well as for the wisdom and experience they have accumulated in life, out of respect. But ultimately, we honour them and treat them with respect and dignity out of fear of God, for this verse says the basis for this command is “you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” So it doesn’t matter even if we are smarter, wealthier, more powerful, have accomplished more, or are more highly regarded in society than the elderly persons in question. We should still honour and respect them out of our reverence for God. This is God’s heart for the elderly.
Even though a pragmatic society may not respect or care too much about the elderly who are no longer able to work and contribute to the economy and may even consider them a burden to society because of their health problems, God wants them to be shown respect and dignity. So, if you’re an elderly person and feel you’re unvaluable, even useless, and a burden to others, God does not want you to feel this way about yourself! He wants you to feel dignified but not proud or arrogant.
If you come into contact with elderly persons, whether in your home or outside, honour them and treat them kindly, politely and with dignity. This begins with the attitude of our hearts towards them. It is expressed through different ways. For example, it may be literally standing up to greet them as in Leviticus 19:32, giving up our seats for them, supporting them if they are frail, offering drinks or meals to them, or doing chores for them. It may mean recognising their past contributions, sincerely affirming them, thanking them, and appreciating them. It also means not despising them, ignoring them, or dismissing their views but listening to them and paying attention to them when they speak, and even seeking their advice and guidance.
God not only honours the elderly, but He cares for them and provides for them. In Isaiah 46:4, He promised, “even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save”, While God made this promise to Israel in the context of being faithful to His covenant relationship with them, it is God’s nature to be responsible for His creation and His character to provide for the weak and frail, including the elderly. He cares for the elderly and provides for them. We see this attribute of God in Jesus. At the cross Jesus made sure that His elderly mother would be cared for by His beloved disciple after His death (John 19:26-27).
So if you’re elderly and fearful of being unable to provide for yourself in old age, be assured that God is not going to forsake you or leave you to fend for yourself. That’s not in His heart! He will never leave you or forsake you but He will help you (Hebrews 13:5b-6).
On the other hand, those who are financially able should take heed of God’s word to provide for the elderly who are unable to provide for themselves, especially those in our family and among our relatives (1 Timothy 5:3-8). When we do this, we are manifesting God’s heart for the elderly, to honour them, respect them, treat them with dignity, and take care of them.
Do you manifest God’s heart for the elderly when you come into contact with them?

Monday: Proverbs 16:31
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
Tuesday: Job 32:4
Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he.
Wednesday: 1 Timothy 5:1-2a (NIV)
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers,
Thursday: Isaiah 46:4
even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Friday: Hebrews 13:5b-6
for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Saturday: John 19:26-27
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Sunday: 1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8 (NIV)
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

Anyone who does not provide for his relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

All scriptures are quoted from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise stated.
By Pastor Yong Tai Tong