corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 46:4

 

 

Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And even to your old age, I am he - Or rather, I am the same. I remain, unchangeably, with the same tenderness, the same affection, the same care. In this the care of God for his people surpasses that of the most tender parent, and the most kind nourisher of the young. The care of the parent naturally dies away as the child reaches manhood, and he is usually removed by death before the son or daughter that excited so much solicitude in infancy and childhood, reaches old age. But not so with God. His people are always the objects of his tender solicitude. Age does not make them less dependent, and experience only teaches them more and more their need of his sustaining grace. The argument here is, that he who had watched over the infancy of his people with so much solicitude, would not leave them in the exposures, and infirmities, and trials of the advanced years of their history. The doctrine is, first, that his people always need his protection and care; secondly, that he will never leave nor forsake them; thirdly, that he who is the God of infancy and childhood will be the God of age, and that he will not leave or forsake his people, who have been the objects of his care and affection in childhood, when they become old. For though this passage refers primarily to a people, or a community as such, yet I see no reason why the principle should not be regarded as applicable to those who are literally aged. They need the care of God no less than childhood does; and if they have walked in his ways in the vigor and strength of their life, he will not cast them off ‹when they are old and gray-headed.‘ Hoary hairs, therefore, if ‹found in the way of righteousness.‘ may trust in God; and the ‹second childhood‘ of man may find him no less certainly a protector than the first.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-46.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 46:4

And even to your old age I am He

The best support in frailty

Nothing can exhibit the character of God in a more amiable point of view, than the representations which the Scriptures give us of His conduct to youth and age.
Youth is ardent, thoughtless, and presumptuous. But to them God says, Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth? Old age needs a comforter. God saith in the text, “Even to your old age,” &c.

I. THE GRACIOUS ASSURANCE GOD HERE DELIVERS TO HIS AGED SAINTS.

1. God’s continued presence with them. Few of the companions of their early days remain. But the Guide of their youth lives to be the companion of their age.

2. It implies unabated affection. The aged are ready to complain, and in many cases with truth, that relatives and friends are cold to them, and weary of them. They fear that their moral infirmities will provoke the anger of their Father in heaven. But God having loved His own that are in the world, will love them to the end.

3. The promise assures aged saints of the kindest tokens of endearment from their God and Father. He will bear them in His arms as the parent does the child for whose welfare she is most solicitous.

4. This promise assures aged believers of effectual support. Various are the burdens which the aged have to bear, and various are the duties which they are required to perform, and for which they have no might. In youth, saints are apt to err on the side of presumption, and in old age, on that of despondence. But the grace of God can strengthen the bending back and invigorate the fainting spirit.

5. It assures them of His patience and indulgence. This may be intimated in the phrase--“I will bear.” Men are more disposed to bear with the young than with the old. He will correct you for the failings of age to secure their amendment, and to make your decline a more happy specimen of the beauty and the power of religion; but it will be with a gentle hand. He will dig about the aged tree and prune it, that it may still bear fruit.

6. The text contains a promise of complete deliverance. Many are the afflictions and temptations of old age, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all Human life is like a hill. Its sunny side we climb in childhood and youth; in middle life we loiter a while on its summit; in old age we descend its dark side, and at its foot lies the valley of the shadow of death. The staff which supported your decrepitude shall help you in your dying agony; the rod which drove enemies from your course shall terrify them from your pillow; yea, the Comforter of your age shall take you to Himself, that in Him you may find the bliss of eternity.

II. THE GROUNDS OF CONFIDENCE IN THESE PROMISES, that God will do all this to His aged people.

1. God hath made. His creating goodness is frequently employed in Scripture as an encouragement to hope in His protecting care (chap. 43:1, 2). Besides, you are His workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.

2. The character of Him who makes the promise confirms it. What is the reason why the word “I” is five times repeated in this verse? It is to point out the pleasure God takes in making promises of mercy to His aged people, and to fix their view on the Author of it, that they may confide more fully in its accomplishment. The greatest promises, if made by those destitute of power to fulfil them, excite contempt; or, if made by persons whose integrity is questionable, are thought of with the torturing anxieties of suspicion, rather than the comforts of hope; but in God we see everything to make distrust appear foolish and criminal, and to produce a steadfast and triumphant faith.

Conclusion--

1. This subject is admirably adapted to lead the aged to their proper duties. It should lead them to love God with all their heart and strength. The reflection, I am poor and needy, but the Lord thinks on me, is powerfully adapted to melt the heart. Your capacities of service are more limited than they once were; but this consideration should make you more zealous in the holy improvement of them. Let it teach you patience. Let it teach you to be joyful. Be not weary of a season thus marked by the Divine pity and care.

2. Let the conduct of God to the aged be imitated by us as far as possible. Let not your regard to them wax cold, though you may perceive in them increasing infirmities. Give them every proper testimony of your kindness.

3. Let aged transgressors consider, that none of these consolations is theirs, and that they exclude themselves from them by their temper and conduct. (H. Belfrage, D. D.)

The aged saint comforted

I. WHAT HAS GOD DONE FOR YOU ALREADY? “I have made.” This brings Him very near. Others have claimed us as children; and we early learned to say, My father. But to them we owe our being subordinately, and instrumentally: to Him we owe it supremely and efficiently. They were “fathers of our flesh”: but He is “the Father of our spirits.” But there is another and a higher operation of which the Scripture-speaks. “This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.” “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” As the subjects of His grace, a foundation is laid for everlasting confidence and joy in Him.

II. WHAT GOD WILL DO.

1. He will carry. This implies something more than to guide and to lead. It supposes helplessness on their side; and tender support and assistance on His. God has a large family; but, as Bishop Hall observes, none of His children can go alone. Yet they are not left to perish in their weakness.

2. He will deliver. This implies that they are exposed to danger; but that they shall not become a prey. He delivers them from trouble. In trouble. By trouble.

III. BUT HOW LONG HOW FAR WILL HIS TENDERNESS AND CARE EXTEND? “To old age; to hoar hairs.” This is a period in which a man is deprived of many of his relations and friends; is gazed on by a new generation; feels a thousand infirmities, anxieties, and distresses; and is reduced to dependence upon those around him.

1. The promise does not necessarily suppose that you will reach this period. The meaning is, that if you should reach this period you need not be afraid of it; He will be with you, and “a very present help in trouble.”

2. It is only said that He will be with you “to old age, and to hoar hairs.” He will be with you all through “the months of vanity, and the wearisome nights appointed you”; He will be with you even when “your heart and flesh fail you.” This is implied. But it was not necessary to mention it--old age and death are so near each other--they touch. This subject displays--

The God of the aged

I. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TEXT I hold to be, the constancy of God’s love, its perpetuity, and its unchangeable nature. God declares that He is not simply the God of the young saint; that He is not simply the God of the middle-aged saint: but that He is the God of the saints in all their ages from the cradle to the tomb. The doctrine, then, is twofold: that God Himself is the same, whatever may be our age; and that God’s dealings towards us, both in providence and in grace, are alike unchanged.

II. But now we come to our real subject, which is, to consider THE TIME OF OLD AGE AS A SPECIAL PERIOD, and to mark, therefore, the constancy of Divine love--that God bears and succours His servants in their later years.

1. Old age is a time of peculiar memory.

2. The aged man, too, hath peculiar hopes. He hath few hopes of the future in this world. But he has one hope, and that is the very same which he had when he first trusted in Christ. What is the ground of thy hope? Is it not the same as that which animated thee when thou wast first united with the Christian Church? Thou saidst then, “My hope is in the blood of Jesus Christ.” And the object or end of hope, is not that the same? And is not the joy of that hope just the same?

3. Old age is a time of peculiar solicitude. An old man is not anxious about many things, as we are; for he hath not so many things for which to concern himself. He hath not the cares of starting in business, as he once had. He hath no children to launch out in business. But his solicitude hath somewhat increased in another direction.

4. Old age hath its peculiar blessedness. The old man has a good experience to talk about. He has peculiar fellowship with Christ. There are peculiar communings, peculiar openings of the gates of paradise, peculiar visions of glory, just as you come near to it.

5. The aged saint has peculiar duties.

Application--

1. What a precious thought, young men and women, is contained in this text. You want a safe investment; here is an investment safe enough. Young man, God’s religion will last as long as you will; His comforts you will never be able to exhaust in all your life.

2. Middle-aged men, you are plunged in the midst of business, and are sometimes supposing what will become of you in your old age. But is there any promise of God to you when you suppose about to-morrows? Listen to what David says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

3. Venerable fathers in the faith, and mothers in Israel, take these words for your joy. Do not let the young people catch you indulging in melancholy, sitting in your chimney corner, grumbling and growling, but go about cheerful and happy, and they will think how blessed it is to be a Christian. (C. H.Spurgeon.)

God always with His people

When we begin with the Alpha of our life’s spelling, we find Him good; and when we come to the Omega, and faintly pronounce the last letter of life, we know still better how gracious He is. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

God’s presence with the aged

I remember, when I was a lad, I took a long walk from the place where I was working, late on a Saturday night, to my father’s house; and all the way along that walk the night increased about me, the darkness got thicker and thicker. I knew that just before I should reach home I should pass through what to me was the gloomiest and thickest wood that ever was. It was gloomy even at midday. And I remember I was feeling my way through that dense wood, when suddenly my heart leapt to my mouth, and the same instant almost all my fears vanished. For a great, strong voice rang through every timber of the wood--“Are you coming, Johnny?” ’Twas my father coming to meet me! Oh,the night became almost light about me. I could almost fancy I saw the outline of a great, strong man flashed upon the darkness--so vivid was the impression, not only on the ear, but also on the imagination. Then the whole darkness was vocal with the crash of his voice. Some of you are in darkness. It is wearing late, my brother. It is getting dark and late and lonely, and not many people are tramping your road now. Time was when the road was filled with your friends. You are like one who sits up far into the night, and sees the lights in the neighbours’ houses one by one put out, while the darkness and silence are deepening round about him. But suddenly, suddenly, in this darkness and loneliness, God’s voice rings out, “I am here; fear not; never nearer than now, in your hoar hairs and old age.” (J. M‘Neill.)

The reward of life-long consecration to God

In our great naval and military hospitals, it is only those grey-haired veterans who have fought the battle in youth and manhood, who can be received as in-door pensioners. It is long and devoted service which is the passport to admission there. The inmates bear upon them marks of the fight--the mutilated limb or the scar of battle, or medals hang on their breast, the mementoes of brave and heroic deeds. Let us work while it is called to-day. Let us give to God, not the crumbs which fall from life’s table, but the best of the feast; not the evening hour of weariness and sleep, but the morning prime of active energy; not the few stray winter berries left on the top of the olive tree, but the ripe and abundant autumn fruits. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

Old age with and without God

Old age without God--it is the picture of querulousness, discontent, fretfulness, gloom! Old age with God--it is love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness. Old age without God--it is graphically described, in this chapter, as the overturn of all worldly pride and glory--“Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth”; it is the spoliation of the earthly temple, the pillage of everything that ministered to earth’s ephemeral happiness. Old age with God--it can stand with the prophet, even in the midst of catastrophe and ruin and death, claiming as its own the sustaining words, “Even to your old age I am He,” &c. (J. R.Macduff, D. D.)

I have made, and I will bear

Creating and carrying

I. The two ideas of creating and carrying are thrown together, and in such a way as to show that they are related: that IN THE FACT OF GOD THE CREATOR LIES ENFOLDED THE FACT OF GOD THE REDEEMER. We must not let the fact of redemption, wonderful as it is, throw the fact of creation into the background; because the two are inseparably linked. Redemption, in one sense, grows out of creation. Because God made man in His own image, He is bent on restoring him to that image. Because God made us, God loves us, educates us, bears with us, carries on the race on the line of His infinite patience, ministers to us with help and sympathy, is burdened with our perverseness and blindness, yea, comes down in person into the sphere of our humanity and takes its awful load of sin and sorrow and pain and death upon Himself. In anything that one makes he has a peculiar interest. The young artist knows that his first picture stands no chance in comparison with the works of his masters, and yet that piece of canvas is more to him than a Raphael or a Rembrandt. Love seems to thrive on defect. The idea is worked out in Wordsworth’s little poem, “The Idiot Boy.” And the same fact holds on the moral side. Parental love is not conditioned on a child’s goodness. All this is familiar enough. Are we afraid to carry the truth farther up--up to God? Are we of those who say that God must be just and may be merciful--as if mercy were not one of His essential attributes as well as justice? Why should the “must” hold in the one case any more than in the other? All that is included in the word “bear” is practically pledged to us in the fact of creation. One reason why we take so slowly to the idea of God’s bearing or carrying us, is because we divorce it from the fact that He made us; and we rook at the bearing simply as a concession, forgetting that God the Redeemer is bound up with God the Creator. You find that in the New Testament. Take the parable of the Prodigal Son. What is at the bottom of the whole story but this truth of sonship? It is that which defines the measure of the prodigal’s sin. That also defines the father’s longing, and the joy over the returning son, the free forgiveness and the festivity. God is under the stress of the parental instinct to take our sicknesses and to bear our infirmities, and He yields to it, gives Himself up to it in His own Divine measure. I am saying nothing which goes to mitigate the essential badness of sin, or God’s hatred of it, or to deny the fact of God’s punishment of it. Even fatherhood has limitations. God cannot restore His erring child without conditions. Simply to forgive the past is not enough. God aims at the perfect establishment of the filial relation, and that cannot be without a filial heart in the son, and the son’s cheerful obedience. If the prodigal had not come back repentant, he would not have had the robe and the ring.

II. SOME OF THE ASPECTS UNDER WHICH THIS TRUTH OF GOD’S BEARING MANIFESTS ITSELF.

1. It appears as a matter of tolerance. It is perfectly clear from the Bible that God’s love for His children makes Him bear patiently with their infirmities and errors. When an enthusiastic sculptor has once conceived the idea of a statue, he is not daunted by hardness in the stone, nor by defects in the grain. He is bent on carrying out his cherished ideal. The greater the difficulties, the more his energies are called out. Are we to suppose that God conceives a purpose less sharply or works it out with less intensity than a man does? This idea of bearing is at the root of the doctrine of Christ’s atonement. The truth also comes out experimentally in the Christian life of each one of us. Every one, if he is honest with himself, knows that God has had much to bear with him, and knows, too, how patiently God has borne it: and every one of us has had experience of God’s bearing in the sense of sympathetic love and helpfulness. How many of us know from most blessed experience what it is to have a great High Priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities. How many of us have known what it was to have Him bear our heavy load for us; and therefore, in the way that lies before us, can we not trust in larger measure the love of Him who made us to bear with us? God makes nothing in vain. When He made man in His own image, He did not make him to gratify a caprice, or in mere wantonness of power. He made him with a solemn, an awful, a glorious purpose over which He took heaven into counsel: and be sure that He will accomplish that purpose, that His patience shall not fail, that He who made will bear until He shall have perfected His work.

2. And meanwhile let us not forget the lesson of His bearing as it speaks to us of duty. Let us not presume on it. (M. R. Vincent, D. D.)

God our burden-bearer

I. THE BURDENS FOR WHICH GOD MAKES HIMSELF RESPONSIBLE. The lives of most of us are heavily weighted. We began our race unencumbered, but the years as they have passed have added burdens and responsibilities. There is the burden of existence. Of sin. Of responsibility for others. Of our life-work. In all these things we are doomed to be solitary. Each human soul must bear his own burden. We are a deadweight; but it matters nought to Him.

II. THE REASON WHY GOD ASSUMES THIS RESPONSIBILITY. “I have made, and I will bear.” When a parent sees his own evil nature re-appearing in his child, so far from casting that child aside, and quoting its faults as reasons for disowning it, he draws nearer to it, filled with a great pity, and murmurs, “I have made, and I will bear.” When a man has elicited in another a love which will never be at rest till it has nestled to his heart, even though considerations arise which make it questionable whether he has been wise, yet as he considers the greatness of the love which he has evoked, he says to himself, “I have made, and I will bear.” When a Christian minister has gathered around him a large congregation, and many have been converted from the world, as he looks around on those who count him captain or father, he says to himself, when voices summon him elsewhere, unless some overmastering consideration is pressed upon him, “I have made, and I will bear.” Now let us ascend, by the help of these reflections, to the Divine nature, which is not above similar considerations. He has made and fashioned us; He has implanted within us appetites that only He can satisfy; He has placed us amid circumstances of unusual difficulty, and entrusted to us work of unwonted importance; He has committed to us the post of duty which taxes us to the uttermost: and because He has done all this, He is responsible for all that is needed for the accomplishment of His purposes.

III. THE CONSOLATION WHICH ARISES FROM THESE CONSIDERATIONS.

1. In hours of anguish for recent sin. The sin is our own. And yet from the depth of sin-consciousness there is an appeal to God. He created, permitted us to be born as members of a sinful race. He knew all we should be, before He set His heart upon us and made us His own. May we not ask Him to bear with us whom He made, redeemed, and took to be His children by adoption and grace? And will He not answer, “I have made, and I will bear”?

2. In moments of great anxiety.

3. In days of anxious foreboding. (F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

False and true religion--bearing or borne

It makes all the difference to a man how he conceives his religion--whether as something that he has to carry, or as something that will carry him. We have many idolatries and idol manufactories among us. This cleavage is permanent in humanity--between the men that are trying to carry their religion and the men thatare allowing God to carry them. Let us see how God does carry.

1. The first requisite for stable and buoyant life is ground, and the faithfulness of law. What sends us about with erect bodies and quick, firm step, is the sense that the surface of the earth is sure, that gravitation will not fail, that our eyes and the touch of our feet and our judgment of distance do not deceive us. Now, what the body needs for its world, the soul needs for hers. For her carriage and bearing in life the soul requires the assurance that the moral laws of the universe are as conscience has interpreted them to her, and will continue to be as in experience she has found them. To this requisite of the soul God gives His assurance, “I have made, and I will bear.” These words were an answer to an instinct, the instinct that springs from the thought, “Well, here I am, not responsible for being here, but so set by someone else, and the responsibility of the life, which is too great for me, is His.” God’s Word comes to him to tell him that his instinct is sure.

2. The most terrible anguish of the heart, however, is that it carries something which can shake a man off even that ground. The firmest rock is of no use to the paralytic or to a man with a broken leg. And the most steadfast moral universe, and most righteous moral governor, is no comfort--but rather the reverse--to the man with a bad conscience, whether thatconscience be due to the guilt or to the habit of sin. Conscience whispers, “God indeed made thee, but what if thou hast unmade thyself? God reigns; the laws of life are righteous; creation is guided to peace. But thou art an outlaw of this universe, fallen from God of thine own will. Thou must bear thine own guilt, endure thy voluntarily contracted habits. How canst thou believe that God, in this fair world, would bear thee up, so useless, soiled, and infected a thing?” Yet here, according to His blessed Word, God does come down to bear up men. The thing is man’s realest burden, and man’s reaiest burden is what God stoops lowest to bear (chap. 53:4, 11). God has made this sin and guilt of ours His special care and anguish. We cannot feel it more than He does.

3. But this Gospel of God’s love bearing our sins is of no use to a man unless it goes with another--that God bears him up for victory over temptation, for attainment in holiness. God never gives a man pardon but to set him free for effort, and to constrain him for duty. He bears us best and longest by being the spirit and the soul and the life of our life. The Lord and His own are one.

4. God does not carry dead men. His carrying is not mechanical, but natural; not from below, but from within. You dare not be passive in God’s carriage. Again, in His bearing God bears, and does not overbear, using a man not as a man uses a stick, but as a soul uses a body,--informing, inspiring, recreating his natural faculties. Many distrust religion, as if it were to be an overbearing of their originality. But God is not by grace going to undo His work by nature. “I have made, and I will bear”--will bear what I have made. If that be God’s bearing, how wrong those are who, instead of asking God to carry them, are more anxious about how He and His religion are to be sustained by their consistency or efforts! (Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 46:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-46.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And even to your old age I am he,.... The same he ever was, the eternal and unchangeable Jehovah; the same in his love and affections; in his sympathy and care; in his power and protection; in his promises, truth, and faithfulness to his people, in their last days, as at the first moment of their conversion; and therefore they are safe; see Psalm 102:27,

and even to hoar hairs will I carry youF14This seems to express more than old age, as Ben Melech observes hence the Jews say, a man sixty years old is come to old age, and one of seventy to hoary hairs. ; which is doing more than the most tender parent does, or can, or need to do! God will not leave his people in the decline of life, when pressing infirmities are upon them, and they stand in as much need as ever of being bore up, supported, and carried: wherefore it follows,

I have made; these persons, not merely as creatures, but as new creatures; they are formed for myself; they are my sons and daughters, the works of my hands: I have an interest in them,

therefore I will bear, even I will carry: from the first of their regeneration, to their entrance into glory; See Gill on Isaiah 46:3;

And will deliver you; out of all affliction; out of all temptations; out of the hand of every enemy; from a final and total falling away; from a body of sin and death; from death eternal, and wrath to come; and even at last from the grave and all corruption.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And [even] to [your] old age I [am] he; and [even] to gray hairs will I carry [you]: f have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver [you].

(f) Seeing I have begotten you, I will nourish and preserve you forever.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

old age — As “your” - “you” - “you,” are not in the Hebrew, the sentiment is more general than English Version, though of course it includes the Jews from the infancy to the more advanced age of their history (Isaiah 47:6).

I am he — that is, the same (Psalm 102:27; John 8:24; Hebrews 13:8).

I will bear … carry — Not only do I not need to be borne and carried Myself, as the idols (Isaiah 46:1).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4And even to old age. Here I explain the copulative ו (vau) to mean therefore; and the reasoning ought to be carefully observed, for he argues thus, “I have begotten and brought you forth;” and again, “Even when you were little children, I carried you in my arms, and therefore I will be the guardian of your life till the end.” Thus also David reasons,

“Thou art he who brought me out of the womb; I trusted in thee while I hung on my mother’s breasts; I was cast upon thee from my birth; thou art my God from my mother’s womb.”
(
Psalms 22:10.)

He therefore promises that he will always be a Father to the Jews; and hence we see that we ought to cherish assured confidence of salvation from the time that the Lord hath once begun it in us, for he wishes to continue his work till the end. “The Lord,” says David, “will complete what he hath begun;” and again,

“O Lord, thy loving-kindness is eternal, and thou wilt not forsake the works of thy hands.” (Psalms 138:8.)

I am the same. The Hebrew word הוא (hu) is, in my opinion, very emphatic, though some interpreters render it simply by the demonstrative pronoun He; (216) but it means that God is always “the same” and like himself, not only in his essence, but with respect to us, so that we ourselves shall feel that he is the same. When he says, “Even to old age,” (217) it might be thought absurd; for we ought to become full-grown men after having been carried by God from infancy. But if any one shall examine it properly, it will be found that we never make so great progress as not to need to be upheld by the strength of God, for otherwise the most perfect man would stumble every moment; as David also testifies,

“Forsake me not in the time of old age, withdraw not from me when my strength faileth.” (Psalms 71:9.)

I have made and will carry. He again argues in the same manner. God does not regard what we deserve, but continues his grace toward us; and therefore we ought to draw confidence from it, “Thou didst createus, not only that we might be human beings, but that we might be thy children; and therefore thou wilt continue till the end to exercise continually toward us the care of a father and of a mother.”


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-46.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

HOW GOD CARRIES MEN

‘And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.’

Isaiah 46:4

I. Let us see how God carries men.—The first requisite for an upright bearing is ground—something to rest upon. So the soul requires this assurance, and God has confirmed it in His Word: ‘I have made, and I will bear.’ The responsibility of life is God’s; we have been sent here at His will. This instinct has formed the turning-point in many a man’s life.

II. Sometimes a man’s heart will shake him off this ground.—Conscience says, ‘God has made thee, but thou hast unmade thyself.’ When this comes to a man it is the most sinking time in his life. But God insists that just here He is most anxious to bear him up. The Gospel would be no gospel if it could not lift a man out of the fear of his sin.

III. This gospel, however, must be accompanied with repentance and perseverance in holiness.

IV. The most essential part—God’s being life within us.—All human metaphors fall far short of describing God’s relation to man. God does not carry dead men. He is very intolerant of the dead, but all who have a wish for life He will lift and carry to holiness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/isaiah-46.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 46:4 And [even] to [your] old age I [am] he; and [even] to hoar hairs will I carry [you]: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver [you].

Ver. 4. And even to your old age I am he.] The mother beateth not her child in her bosom, when grown to some size. The eagle beateth her young out of the nest when able to prey upon their own wing; (a) but God dealeth better a great deal with his, whom he never casteth off; as neither doth he his labouring and languishing Church, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry.] God himself will do it; "I" is emphatic and exclusive.

Et si gratissima semper

Munera sint author quae preciosa facit. ”

How sweet should this precious promise be unto us, and how sovereign against the fear of want in old age! Plutarch giveth this for a reason why old men are so covetous, viz., because they fear they shall not have τους θρεψοντας και τους θαψοντας, such as will keep them while they live, and such as will bury them decently when dead. The Lord here assureth all his that he will see to their support and sustentation as long as life lasteth, yea, for spirituals as well as temporals. This was no small comfort to old David, {Psalms 71:18} to Dr Rivet and others; and well it might. See Psalms 48:14. {See Trapp on "Psalms 48:14"}


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-46.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And that care and kindness which I have had for you from the beginning, I will continue to you to the end; never forsaking you, unless you wilfully and obstinately cast me off, as the Jews did when their Messiah came. You are my workmanship, both as you are men, and as you are my peculiar people; and therefore I will preserve and deliver you.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-46.html. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

even = yea. Some codices, with three early printed editions, Syriac, and Vulgate, omit "yea".


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-46.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

(Even) to (your) old age - as your ... you ... you, are not in the Hebrew, the sentiment is more general than the English version, though of course it includes the Jews from the infancy to the more advanced age of their history (Isaiah 47:6).

I am he - i:e., the Same (Psalms 102:27; John 8:24; Hebrews 13:8).

I have made, and I will bear ... carry ... deliver. Not only do I not need to be borne and carried myself, as the idols (Isaiah 46:1), but I will bear, carry, and deliver my people.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Even to your old age.—The care of a mother ceases, in the natural course of things, before a man grows old, but the fatherly, we might almost say the mother-like, maternal care of Jehovah for His chosen ones endures even to the end of life.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
even to your
41:4; 43:13,25; Psalms 92:14; 102:26,27; Malachi 2:16; 3:6; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 1:12; 13:8; James 1:17
even to hoar
Psalms 48:14; 71:18

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-46.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

GOD'S PROMISE TO HIS AGED SERVANTS

Isa . And even to your old age I am He, &c.

The design of this chapter is to caution the Israelites against the idolatry of the Babylonians, and to prevent their fears of any mischief which idol-gods could do. For this purpose, Isaiah describes the desolation Cyrus should bring upon Babylon, and foretells that he should carry captive their gods, who would be insufficient to help either their worshippers or themselves. And then God calls upon His people to consider whether He was such a god as these (Isa ). He reminds them of what He had already done for them in their formation and their support; that He had shown all the care and tenderness of a parent to them; and assures them that He would continue His care of them. But our text may have been particularly designed to comfort God's aged servants, who should live till near or quite to the end of the captivity; those whose eyes saw the ruin of the first and the dedication of the second temple (Ezr 3:12). To comfort and animate their hearts who expected to die in a strange land, and were greatly distressed at the remembrance of Zion, God encourages them still to hope in Him. To God's ancient saints to-day we may lawfully apply the same promise.

I. GOD'S PROMISE TO HIS AGED SAINTS.

1. God promises to support them under their burdens, and carry them through their difficulties. "I will carry you." The word signifies to sustain any pressure, or bear any burden. It intimates God's readiness to help them, when they seem likely to be overborne and pressed down. How many are the burdens of old age from without! From the world, which still hangs too much about them. Sometimes their circumstances are such, that they cannot get rid of its cares and hurries. Their fellow-creatures are often a burden to them. Those with whom they are obliged to have dealings are apt to take advantage of their decays to deceive them. Some in whom they place confidence disappoint them. Some from whom they have good reason to expect assistance, ungratefully forsake them. This is the most grievous burden, and would be too heavy for them to bear, were it not that "the eternal God is their refuge, and underneath them are His everlasting arms." Nay, events that in the vigour of life would have given them little concern now hang as a heavy weight upon them (Ecc ). Every little thing is ready to overset them, but God will carry them by supporting their spirits, and putting strength into them, so that they shall not faint and sink (Deu 33:25).

2. He will comfort them under all their infirmities and sorrows. "I will bear." The word sometimes signifies, as the former did, to support and sustain; but more frequently, to exalt or elevate. It may denote lifting up the soul in joy or comfort; and so it may be considered as an advance upon the former thought. The aged need the fulfilment of this promise. The infirmities of nature come upon them apace; the senses grow weak; the active powers decay: they need the help of others almost as much as they did in their infancy. Often the faculties of the soul languish. Their relish for company, business, and pleasure is gone (2Sa ; P. D. 103, 113). Nay, they find their thoughts confused, their affection for divine things flags, and they cannot serve God with such fixedness of heart, such warmth of zeal and love as they have done. What they hear and read quickly slips away; and their minds are no longer easily impressed with divine truths. In these melancholy circumstances, God will bear and lift up their souls. He sometimes in a most wonderful manner strengthens the powers of the mind. Under the infirmities of nature, He will afford them the consolations of religion; elevate their minds above the trifles of earth and sense; strengthen their faith in His promises; and enlighten the eyes of their understandings, to see the glorious inheritance of the saints, and their own title to and qualification for it (2Co 4:16).

3. God will deliver them out of all their fears and tribulations. "Even I will carry you, and will deliver you." Many of God's aged servants, through the languor of their spirits or weakness of their faith, are continually distressed with anxious fears of poverty, of increasing afflictions, of the temptations peculiar to old age, of apostacy in their last days, of death. But the Lord will deliver them from all their fears, will strengthen their hearts, and will make them desire to depart and be with Christ (H. E. I,. 322, 1602, 1642, 1643). And at length He will give them an everlasting release from everything painful and distressing (H. E. I. 1629).

II. REASONS WHY THEY SHOULD CONFIDE IN THIS PROMISE.

1. He is your Maker. "I have made," saith He, "and I will bear." GOD formed your bodies and souls. Why, but to communicate happiness to you, that you might serve Him on earth and be for ever with Him? He who freely gave you your life, will surely grant you every needful good (Mat ). God made you: must He not therefore be a very wise Being? Must He not know all your needs, distresses, and fears? God made you: must He not therefore be a very powerful Being? Is there any evil so great that He cannot deliver you from it, any good so valuable that He cannot confer it upon you? (Isa 26:4).

2. He hath been careful of you and kind to you hitherto. This is intimated in the text, which is a promise of continued care and favour; and it is plainly expressed in the preceding verse. Have you not reason to acknowledge, with aged Jacob, that the God of your fathers has fed you "all your life long" to this day, and redeemed you from evil? What stronger argument can there be to encourage your faith in His promises, than your long experience of His goodness? To distrust Him will be peculiarly unreasonable, and highly ungrateful. Holy men of old thought it a very substantial reason to exercise faith in God, that they had long experienced His care (Psa ; 2Ti 4:18). Hath God carried you sixty or seventy years, and will He cease His care and withdraw His kindness? How unreasonable such a conclusion! God hath been an old friend to you, a tried friend, and you may be assured He will never leave nor forsake you; especially when you consider—

3. He is an unchangeable God. "I am He"—an expressive word elsewhere rendered "the same" (Psa ). "I am He that I was of old to the saints in former generations, and will continue the same through every succeeding age, and not like the idols of the heathen, that were made yesterday, and are destroyed to-morrow." This renders God the proper object of our trust. Creatures change, but He is the same. When men grow old they often find that their friends forsake them; their old acquaintance look shy on them; their children sometimes turn their backs upon them; the world is almost weary of them, and wisheth them gone. But their God remains the same powerful, wise, and gracious Being, whose affection for His aged servants does not lessen. It was a remarkable saying of Cardinal Wolsey, at the close of his life, "If I had served my God as long and as faithfully as I have served my prince, He would not have cast me off in my old age." The unchangeableness of God adds the strongest security to His promises and covenant, and is a sufficient encouragement to His people to hope in Him, whatever changes and alterations there may be in the world about them (Psa 89:34; Psa 48:14).

III. CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS.

1. How unreasonable and unbecoming is it for aged saints to sink under their burdens and infirmities! Be they ever so many and great, you have the promise of God to depend upon, that He "will bear, and carry, and deliver" you. We have seen that it is a sure promise. Therefore, instead of fretting and complaining in the midst of trial, plead it, and it will be fulfilled to you.

2. Aged saints are under great obligations to God, and should be faithful unto death. To Him you are under innumerable obligations as your creator, preserver, and benefactor. Therefore proceed vigorously in His service, and let not your infirmities be made an excuse for negligence and sloth (P. D. 2598). Labour to maintain the seriousness and spirituality of your devotions. Let your hoary heads never be spotted with any sin. If God gives you ability for active services, abound in them, for death is at hand. If you cannot do this, adorn and recommend religion by patience and resignation to His will, and by quietly waiting for His salvation. Glorify Him by calm faith in the final hour. I heartily wish your souls and mine may then be in the same frame as that of a pious Scotch minister, who, being asked by a friend during his last illness whether he thought himself dying, answered, "Really, friend, I care not whether I am or not; for if I die, I shall be with God, and if I live, He will be with me."

3. Young persons should choose God as the guide of their youth, if they desire that He should be the support and comfort of their age. If this great choice is not made in youth, it probably never will be made (H. E. I, 1457, 1458).—Job Orton, S. T. P: Practical Works, vol. i. pp. 373-382.

These words were addressed to God's ancient people in view of the time when Babylon would be brought to ruin. Bel and Nebo, its gods, would be carried away, unable to defend themselves. In contrast to them Jehovah, who had, like a mother, carried His people, would continue to carry them, through all the duration of their existence. To the end it would be as it had been from the beginning (Deu ). The words were spoken to the nation, but they contain a truth equally precious to every individual; and in this view we will consider them. We will notice

I. THE APPREHENSIONS THEY CONTEMPLATE. They are those incident to old age and its prospect. While no one can be certain that he will reach old age, no reflecting man can fail to think sometimes of the possibility that he may. At such times we remember several things, as that it is a period

1. When a man's pecuniary resources are likely to be diminished. Where an inheritance has been derived from ancestors, and where successful commercial enterprise has realised wealth, it is not so. Where it is possible to provide for old age, it is dutiful. But in the majority of cases, it is impossible. The family swallows up all. The decline of power to perform customary work means diminished income. This is the case of the labouring poor, and of many widows. Yet old age is the period of life when there is diminished ability to endure privation. The elasticity of youth rises above a change of circumstances; old age sinks under it. There is then a tendency also to greater anxiety about worldly comfort and sufficiency.

2. When friendship is less available than in youth. If poverty comes with it, it is too often found that "the world forsakes whom fortune leaves." Most of the friends of earlier days have gone whence there is no return; and there is neither equal disposition nor opportunity to make new ones. The old man feels himself becoming less important to the community. In private life he often becomes less capable of affording happiness. He may be garrulous; but it is about things not of present interest. Thus he is in danger of sinking into neglect; perhaps he is too sensitive, and fancies himself neglected and forsaken when it is not really the case.

3. When the physical powers fall into decay. It is not necessarily so with the intellectual and spiritual powers, which are often most vigorous in advanced life. But the body is like a house, it falls into ruin after a number of years. Its powers decline. Its capacity for action lessens. The enjoyment of existence departs.

4. It is the period nearest to the hour of death. True, death is also near the young; only to them he does not show himself so plainly. But he cannot be far from the old. Death stands before them; a dark enemy who must be faced; a dread moment when, amidst unknown suffering, all that has made life interesting must be left behind.

These gloomy anticipations crowd upon the contemplation of old age. Happy is it for those who in full faith can pray: "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." To God the words of our text direct us. Notice

II. THE ANTIDOTE THEY ADMINISTER. "Even to your old age I am He: and even to hoar hairs will I carry you." They encouraged the exiled Jews to put their trust in the Lord. They may encourage us in the like manner in spite of the presence or the gloomy prospect of old age. He will be our God. He will lead and carry us through life to old age; and in old age will relieve the darkness by the brightness of His presence, the sufficiency of His power, and the tenderness of His love. The text reminds us of

1. His permanent existence. "To your old age I am He." His life runs through all ages and generations. The care of earthly parents gradually dies away as their children reach maturity. Parents usually die before their children. Should they survive until their children become old, they are themselves cast on the care of their children. However great his solicitude, no parent can guarantee that his own life will continue as long as his children need his care. But our heavenly Father will continue to exist through our lives and beyond. He can undertake the charge of His children to the end of their lives.

2. His enduring ability. "I will carry.… I will bear." The help rendered by any man may be discontinued from loss of ability. Human promises must be conditional on the continuance of ability. But God's ability suffers no diminution. You cannot survive His power to help.

3. His unchanging purpose. God says, "I will." It is a purpose formed in infinite wisdom. It will be executed with unfailing faithfulness. He will not change His mind as men sometimes do. The purpose is formed in the tenderness of unchanging love. Who can measure the duration of the mother's love for the child she has carried in her womb? Long as life lasts, it is in her deepest heart. Even though he go astray, and others cast him off, the mother will not give him up. This is the love with which the Lord here says He follows His children, notwithstanding their numerous follies and faults (Isa ). May we not regard this declaration as a sufficient antidote to the apprehensions we are apt to entertain in prospect of the various anxieties and inconveniences of advancing years?

You who are advanced in life can bear testimony to the Lord's faithful love, which has attended all your days. Have we not heard the aged speak in terms of satisfaction and thankfulness, notwithstanding the trials they have experienced in their life journey? (Psa ; Psa 71:15). See that you honour God to the end by trusting yourselves to His disposal.

You who are young, make the Lord your confidence from your earliest days. Friends, health, business capacity, opportunities may fail. Lean on One who is independent of changes. Make Him your friend. Say to-day, "My Father, Thou shalt be the guide of my youth."—J. Rawlinson.

The words "I am He" mean "I am still the same: I will not alter. My love will not grow cold, my care for you will still continue." The God of our youth and manhood will be the God of our old age, losing none of the tenderness with which He has guided us through previous stages. What a consoling promise! Though originally made to Israel, and applied to them in a national sense, each believer can make it his own (2Co ); and it is good for us, not only to rest on such a promise as we pass into the future, but to mark its fulfilment in our past experience, and in the experience of others who at life's close have borne testimony to the continued goodness, the sustaining power, the unfailing faithfulness of Him whom they trusted and served.

I. THE PERIOD OVER WHICH GOD'S CARE EXTENDS.—"Even to your old age," "to hoar hairs." God engages to be our life-long Friend. He will tend us all the way from infancy to old age, and then He will not forsake us. This golden thread of divine care runs through the whole web of our life, brightening its most sombre colours.

God engages,

1. To be our Friend to old age. Some of us may think we can dispense with His help on the way to old age, though when we reach it, with enfeebled powers and diminished comforts, we may be glad to have recourse to His help. But God's promise is larger than our poor thoughts. He takes us up in His supporting arms as soon as we draw our first breath, and never leaves us, if we do not leave Him, until we have drawn our last.

2. To be our Friend in old age. Having conducted us to this period, He will not cast us off (Psa ; Psa 71:18). Old age is often a time of feebleness and neglect, with few friendships and enjoyments, but with His presence and support we may be peaceful, serene, useful in it. Instead of being repulsive, as we often see it, it may be beautiful, attractive, and honourable in us (Lev 19:32; Pro 16:31). It is pitiable to see an old man who has missed the object of life. "To pass out of the world in the world's debt; to have consumed much and produced nothing; to have sat down at the feast and gone away without paying his reckoning, is not, to put it in the mildest way, a satisfactory transaction" (Earl of Derby). Such a spectacle is not uncommon; but, even then, a change may come. "God can put a fresh kernel into an old and worn-out husk." The sun of God's favour may shine on the declining days of a life spent in the darkness of unbelief, but such a case does not fall within the scope of this promise. Only those whom God has guided to old age can count with certainty on His support and blessing in old age. Many an aged saint can testify to the continued goodness of God. Is old age a second childhood? God is a tender parent, unwearied in His attention. Is it a time of diminished comforts? One great comfort is still left, all the more soothing when others are gone. Is the old man lonely, like the last leaf which the storm has left clinging to the tree? The life-long Friend still remains, "when other helpers fail and comforts flee." And the result is that the aged believer is often a "grand old man" still bringing forth fruit, counselling others from his ripe experience, cheered by happy memories and glowing hopes, not frowning on the happiness of others, contented, trustful, loving, kind.

"On he moves to meet his latter end,

Angels around befriending virtue's friend:

Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,

While resignation gently slopes the way.

And, all his prospects brightening to the last,

His heaven commences ere the world be past."

—Goldsmith.

II. THE NATURE OF THE CARE WHICH GOD EXERCISES OVER US, expressed in the words "carry," "bear," "deliver," which stand in contrast to what is said (Isa ) of the idol-gods of the Chaldeans. Idolaters carry their gods, but our God carries us. Images are borne about in procession, or are packed up and laid on beasts of burden—a withering exposure of the folly of idol-worship (Isa 46:7). The same may be said of creature confidences. Earthly possessions, instead of a help, often become a burden and a snare. Trust in man is often met by faithlessness. Sinful pleasure proves a clog and a hindrance. Unable to support or deliver, these gods become burdens, drags, encumbrances which must be supported.

But these words express the character of God's care for us. He is both father and mother to us (Psa ; Isa 66:13; Psa 27:10). Expressive and tender though the image is, it does not fully exhibit His affection. Not only does He nurse us in infancy and childhood, but even to old age (Psa 48:14).

What deliverances, too, He works for us, from accident and sickness, from the burden of sin and the onset of temptation! How marvellous have been His patience with us and His providential care! He will preserve us in old age, and deliver us from death. To the Christian pilgrim old age will be a Beulah land whence he can descry the shining glories of the heavenly city.

III. THE ARGUMENT BY WHICH GOD ENCOURAGES US TO EXPECT HIS CONTINUED CARE. "I have made, and I will bear." As the Creator of our bodies and the Father of our spirits, God acknowledges His obligation to guide and care for us. Does an earthly father love his child, and shall not the Universal Parent care for the children whom His hand hath formed? The argument becomes stronger when addressed to those whom God has created anew in Christ (Psa ; Psa 138:8; Php 1:6). Behold, then, how gracious is our God! Not only does He assure us of His tender support all through life, but He also condescends to give us a strong reason for counting upon it.

In conclusion—

1. On this promise God rests His claim to our undivided trust. If He engages to do all this, ought we not to give Him the entire confidence of our hearts, abandoning every refuge of lies? There is everything to invite our firm reliance (2Ti ; 2Ti 4:18).

2. There is a call here for gratitude. God has brought some of you well on in your journey to old age, and will you not acknowledge His goodness? and you who have reached old age, are you not thankful for the mercies of the past?

3. The subject inspires us with hope. At whatever stage we stand in the pilgrimage of life, here is a voice of encouragement.—William Guthrie, M.A.

Old age most wish to attain, but those who reach it are generally disposed to complain about it. Very various are the circumstances and feelings in this period of life, but, with all who attain it, it is the time when their "strength faileth;" and with numbers it is a time of gloom and sadness, of labour and sorrow. Caleb could say, "Now, lo! I am fourscore," &c. But how few can adopt this language!

I. Old age has its peculiar afflictions.

1. Physical deterioration (Ecc , &c.)

2. It is usually embittered by the recollection of many distressing bereavements.

3. How utterly forsaken and destitute are some of the aged!

4. Poverty is a frequent accompaniment of old age.—Such a termination of human life, when viewed apart from religion, is cheerless and melancholy. Religion, the best companion of our youth, is the only effectual support of the aged.

II. Old age has its peculiar duties. The foundation must be laid in those great principles of religion, "repentance towards God, and faith," &c. Until then you cannot possess a Christian character, nor can you experience the supports and consolations connected with it. Have you repented, &c.? If you have received the remission of sins, &c., let your mind be directed to those duties which arise from the peculiarity of your present circumstances.

1. Daily familiarise yourself to the thought of your approaching end.

2. Endeavour in the midst of your trials to cultivate a thankful disposition.

3. Guard against the temptations incident to your condition.

4. Earnestly seek after an increasing meetness for future and eternal glory.

III. Old age, when connected with piety, admits of many consolations. Consider—

1. That there is nothing peculiar in the afflictions which you endure, or which need prevent the enjoyment of internal peace and comfort.

2. If old age has its afflictions, it has also its immunities. If the circle of your enjoyment is contracted, you have less to ensnare your affections, and draw you away from God, &c.

3. You have the promise of effectual support and of complete deliverance.

4. The nearness of salvation should reconcile you to affliction and death.

5. How blessed is your condition contrasted with that of the aged transgressor!—T. H. Walker: Companion for the Afflicted, pp. 309-335.

THE GOD OF THE AGED

Isa . Even to your old age I am He, &c.

I. The doctrine of the text I hold to be the constancy of God's love, its perpetuity, and its unchangeable nature. God declares that He is not simply the God of the young saint or the middle-aged saint, but that He is the God of the saints in all their ages from the cradle to the tomb. "Even to old age I am He;" or, as Lowth beautifully and more properly translates it, "Even to old age I am the same, and even to hoary hairs will I carry you."

1. That God Himself is unchanged when we come to old age, surely I have no need to prove. Abundant testimonies of Scripture declare Him to be immutable. If we need proofs, we might look even abroad on nature, and we should from nature guess that God would not change during the short period of our mortal life.

Had God changed, we should need—

(1.) A new Bible. But the Bible which the child readeth is the Bible of the grey head.

(2.) A new form of worship.

That God is still unchanged, we learn from the sweet experience of all the saints. They testify that the God of their youth is the God of their later years. They put their trust in Him because they have not yet marked a single alteration in Him.

2. Not only is God the same in His nature, He is the same in His dealings; He will carry, deliver, and bear us the same as He used to do. God's promises are not made to ages, but to people, to persons, and to men.

II. Consider the time of old age as a special period, needing manifestations of the constancy of divine love.

1. Old age is a time of peculiar memory. In fact, it is the age of memory. What a peculiar memory the old man has! How many joys he can remember, &c. And yet, looking back upon all, he can say, "Even to old age He is the same," &c. How frequently has he been forced to exclaim, "Though friends have departed, yet there is a Friend who sticketh closer than a brother; on Him I still trust, and to Him I still commit my soul."

2. Of peculiar hope. The old saint hath few hopes of the future in this world; they are gathered up into a small space; and he can tell you, in a few words, what constitutes all his expectation and desire. But he has one hope, and that is the very same which he had when he first trusted in Christ; it is a hope of an inheritance that is "undefiled, that fadeth not away," &c.

3. Of peculiar solicitude. An old man is not anxious about many things, as we are, for he hath not so many things for which to concern himself. But

(1.) he hath more solicitude about his bodily frame. He fears every now and then that the pitcher will be "broken at the cistern;" for "the noise of the grinders is low." But in this peculiar solicitude you have another proof of divine faithfulness; for now that you have little pleasure in the flesh, do you not find that God is just the same; and that, though the days are come when you can say, "I have no pleasure in them," yet the days are not come when you can say, "I have no pleasure in Him?"

(2.) There is another solicitude—a failure of mind. They forget much which they would wish to remember; but still they find that their God is just the same; that His goodness does not depend on their memory; that the sweetness of His grace does not depend upon their palate.

(3.) The chief solicitude of old age is death. Young men may die soon. Old men must die. His one solicitude now is, to examine himself whether he is in the faith. But God's faithfulness is the same; for if he be nearer death, he has the sweet satisfaction that he is nearer heaven; and if he has more need to examine himself than ever, he has also more evidence whereby to examine himself.

4. Of peculiar blessedness. The old man has a good experience to talk about. He has peculiar fellowship with Christ. There are peculiar communings, openings of the gates of paradise, visions of glory, just as you come near to it. The nearer you get to the bright light of the celestial city, the clearer shall be the air. But all this only proves that Christ is the same; because, when there are fewer earthly joys, He gives more spiritual ones.

5. Of peculiar duties.

(1.) Testimony. I remember hearing the late Mr. Jay. I fancy that if I had heard the sermon preached by a young man, I should not have thought so much of it; but there appeared such a depth in it because it came from an old man, standing on the borders of the grave; it was like an echo of the past, coming to me, to let me hear my God's faithfulness, that I might trust for the future. Testimony is the duty of old men and women; they should labour whenever they can to bear testimony to God's faithfulness, and to declare that now also, when they are old and grey-headed, their God forsakes them not.

(2.) Comforting the young believer. No one is more qualified than kind-hearted old men to convert the young; when the young Christian comes to them, they say, "Do not fear: I have gone through the waters, and they have not overflown me," &c.

(3.) Warning. The warnings of the old have great effect; and it is their peculiar work to guide the imprudent, and warn the unwary.

APPLICATION.—

1. What a precious thought, young men and women, is contained in this text! Here is a safe investment. A rock may be dissolved, and if I build a house on that it may be destroyed; but if I build on Christ, my happiness is secure for ever. How blessed it is to begin in the early morning to love and serve God! The best old Christians are those who were once young Christians.

2. You middleaged men are plunged in the midst of business, and you are sometimes supposing what will become of you in your old age. But is there no promise of God to you that you suppose about to-morrows? Middle-aged man, give thy present years to Him.

3. Venerable fathers in the faith, and mothers in Israel, take these words for your joy. Do not let the young people catch you indulging in melancholy, but go about cheerful and happy, and they will think how blessed it is to be a Christian, for so will you prove to them—to a demonstration, that even to old age God is with you, and that when your strength faileth He is still your preservation.—C. H. Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 81-82.

"Even to your old age, I am He." That is, "I am the same; I remain unchangeable, with the same tenderness, affection, and care." The proper study of man is God. Though apart from a divine revelation we may acquire some knowledge of His character and perfections, His full-orbed character is only to be found in the revelation He has been pleased to make of Himself in His Word. All things, &c., change; but God is ever the same. "I am He, the same yesterday," &c.

I. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD. He is subject to no change whatever in His manner of being, His perfections, purposes, promises, or threatenings. Whatever He was millions of ages before the worlds were made, He is now; and what He is now, He will be for ever. That He is thus unchangeable is clear from—

1. Reason;

2. Nature;

3. Moral government;

4. The repeated and explicit declarations of Holy Scripture (H. E. I. 2254, 2256, 2324, 2341).

II. SOME OF THE PRACTICAL LESSONS WHICH THIS DOCTRINE TEACHES.

1. It furnishes encouragement to prayer. The Atheist makes another use of this doctrine, and infers from it that it must be in vain to pray, because our petitions can produce no change in the divine mind. But this inference is as repugnant to sound reasoning as it is to the precepts of the Bible, and the spirit of piety (H. E. I. 2255, 3750-3753). If the Lord were fickle like earthly monarchs, then, indeed, it would be vain to pray, for He might grant a petition one day, and deny it another, or He might change His purposes and plans altogether. But if a prince promised to confer some great benefit upon a certain condition, and you knew his promise to be unchangeable, what man in the world would think of saying, "It is no use to seek the benefit, because it depends upon the fulfilment of a prescribed condition?"

3. It should stimulate us to seek freedom from all fickleness—a steadiness of principle, purpose, action (Psa ; Psa 108:1).

4. It infallibly secures the punishment of the finally impenitent. Every threatening as well as every promise must be fulfilled.

"Faithful in Thy promises,

And in Thy threatenings too."

—Alfred Tucker.

THE LORD'S CARE OF HIS PEOPLE

Isa . And even to your old age, &c.

What a consolatory declaration—sufficient to silence all our fears, and to afford us quietness and peace for ever.

I. THE OBJECTS OF THE DIVINE CARE.

1. The whole creation. God is ever present and ever active, and all the operations of nature are the manifestations of His living care (Psa ; Mat 10:29; Luk 12:24, &c.)

2. More especially man—made in His image, formed for eternal existence, and endowed with capacities of eternal enjoyment. Even those who are unthankful and evil (Mat ).

3. In a yet more special sense His own believing people (1Ti ). These He calls His "beloved," &c. None are overlooked or neglected. Remember your individual interest in the special care of your Heavenly Father.

II. THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DIVINE CARE.

1. It is most tender. "I will carry you, and I will bear." Surpasses the tenderness of a fond mother for her helpless infant (chap. Isa ).

2. Active and effectual. "I will deliver." He will accomplish that which concerneth us (chap. Isa ). His care is not an idle sentiment, but an operative principle, and being connected with almighty power, cannot exert itself in vain, but accomplishes with infinite ease all its purposes. Human care is often inefficient, for want of power, but with God to will is to perform, &c.

3. Unwearied. "Even to your old age," &c. Surpasses that of the most tender parent, which naturally dies away as the child reaches manhood. God's people are always the objects of His tender solicitude. Age does not make them less dependent, and experience only teaches them more and more their need of His sustaining grace. Human care is variable according to our changing circumstances and situations, but God's care is constant under all circumstances: affliction, temptation, &c.

III. THE GROUNDS AND ASSURANCES OF THE DIVINE CARE.

1. The relations He sustains to us. He is our

(1.) Creator. "I have made you," and (chap. Isa ). Whatever motive induced Him to create us, still induces Him to care for us.

(2.) Proprietor. He cares for His own lawful possession.

(3.) Father. He cares for us with infinitely more concern than the very best earthly father.

(4.) Redeemer (chap. Isa , &c.) The former arguments apply with double force. What greater proof can there be of His care? The cross is its measure.

2. The teaching and promises of His Word (Psa ; 2Sa 23:5; Isa 49:15; Heb 6:17-18, &c.)

3. The experience of His people (Deu ). Could we ask those who inhabit the celestial mansions, ‘doth God care for His people?' they would all reply, with loud and grateful rapture, ‘He doth care for His people,' &c. Those who are now on the way to heaven can testify to God's loving care. This is the most obvious and impressive evidence.

CONCLUSION.—

1. The wonderful condescension of God (Psa ).

2. The obligations that rest upon us to love and serve Him who thus cares for us.

"Though waves and storms go o'er my head;

Though strength and health and friends be gone;

Though joys be withered all and dead;

Though every comfort be withdrawn—

On this my steadfast soul relies,

Father, Thy mercy never dies."

The cadences of those beautiful words, borne on the still summer air, found an echo in that stricken soul. She rose from her reverie of sadness, wiped away the falling tears, and looking not toward the silent tomb where bodies were crumbling to dust, but to the spirit-land whither her loved ones had gone, she said, with a faith she had never before known: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

THE HUMAN CRY AND THE DIVINE RESPONSE

Psa . Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not.

Isa . Even to your old age, I am He; and even to your hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

I. THE CRY OF THE AGED SAINT IN TIME OF DISTRESS (Psa ).

1. Aged saints are sometimes in distress. The Psalmist was, and others often are. Secular embarrassment, personal or family affliction, spiritual trials, &c.

2. Such distress has a tendency to weaken their confidence in God. To be God-forsaken implies utter loneliness, helplessness, friendlessness, hopelessness, agony.

II. THE RESPONSE OF THE COVENANT-KEEPING GOD (Isa ). This promise to Israel is especially applicable to every aged Israelite.

1. The purport of this gracious promise.—God's perpetual presence with His people (Heb ). He will never abandon them to the caprice or malice of their enemies, or leave them to be the sport of circumstances. He will ever succour them under their trials. The promise guarantees God's constant presence. To direct by His wisdom; to protect by His power; to comfort, strengthen, and sustain by His Spirit; to supply all need by His all-sufficiency; to support in death by His rod and staff (Psa 23:4).

2. The security of this glorious promise.

(1.) The character of God—Almighty, Faithful, &c.

(2.) The mediation of Christ. "If God forgets His people, He must forget His own Son who stands continually before Him as a lamb newly slain, pleading, "Father, remember my people."

(3.) The promises of His Word. "I will." Tried and proved in the experience of His people.

Learn: Contentment with the allotments of providence. Confidence in God (Heb ). Courage in view of death (Psa 23:4).—Alfred Tucker.

OLD AGE TRANSFORMED

Isa . And even to your old age, &c.

I. Long life is promised as a blessing (Exo , &c.) Desired by most men, yet shrunk from by many of these in their meditative hours. Why? Because they see that to most people old age means—

1. Diminished strength of body and of mind.

2. Physical infirmities and pains.

3. Increased needs, and yet diminished resources.

4. Increasing incapacity for enjoying the pleasures that remain to them (2Sa ).

5. The children who were their joy then causes of anxiety and sorrow (Genesis 42; Lev ; 2Sa 15:30; 2Sa 18:33).

6. Solitude continually increasing.

7. Exclusion from the services of the sanctuary (Psa ).

8. Diminished capability for usefulness.

9. A feeling that those round about them would be glad to get rid of them.—In a word, TIME AGAINST THEM, more and more! So it may be with us, if we reach it.

II. How are we to strip old age of these terrors, and transform it into a pleasant evening of life?

1. A life of usefulness will go far towards it. But it is not safe to trust to this exclusively and too confidently. Men are ungrateful. They are also mortal. The generation we can now serve is passing away, and that which will then be round about us may know nothing of us.

2. A life of financial success will not accomplish it. The wealthy aged are apt to be haunted and irritated by consideration.

3. God only can enable us to accomplish it. It can be done only by laying hold of the promise of the text.—What a great promise this is? In it God engages to be our friend—

(1.) until we have grown old; and

(2.) when we have grown old.—Its fulfilment means the securing for us—

(1.) The circumstances most needful for our true welfare.

(2.) All the inward dispositions that will make us conquerors over our circumstances.

(3.) The happiness that comes from ability to glorify God—in a different way, but as really as now.—This is a great promise, but God can fulfil it (Jer ). And He will do it. Note the facts of which we are reminded, in order to help us to trust in Him.

(1.) He made us, and having done this will not be likely to forget us, as children do the top they have made with great eagerness and glee.

(2.) He has cared for us ever since He did make us: "Borne by Me from the birth, carried by Me from the womb!" And in His friendship there is no fickleness (Jas ).

Make the friendship of God now (H. E. I. 1457, 1458, 4246). Never let it go. So if old age is reached by you, you will find that you have indeed solved the problem of transforming it into a season of true blessedness.

THE CHRISTIAN'S OLD AGE

Isa . And even to your old age, &c.

A life devoted to the service of God is a treasure of bliss, as abundant as the wants of the soul, as enduring as its immortality. The aged Christian must be happy,

I. In contemplation of his past conduct and influence. While there is here and there a page of sorrow in his history, it is contemplated as a whole with gladness. It contains the record of long years of allegiance and service—of many a purpose which had its origin in a love that embraced both God and man; of many a scheme of usefulness, &c. Happy the man!

II. In the contemplation of the blessings which have marked his history. Blessings both of providence and grace.

III. In the contemplation of his life's history, because of the lessons it has served to teach. Life is a school, and experience is a teacher. He has learned by a thousand proofs that "all things work together for good," &c.

IV. In the continued possession of his life's chief good. Not so is it with the ungodly. But that which the godly man chose many years ago as the chief portion of his soul, is still the light and joy of his being. Even amid the infirmities of age, his cup of happiness must be full.

"Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk."—G. Macdonald.

V. In the near prospect of realising his life's brightest hopes. Not so the aged transgressor. To the Christian the brightest and happiest period in his history.

Aged disciple of Jesus! be profoundly grateful.—J. Guernsey: The American National Preacher.

THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF GOD

(Sermon to the Young.)

Isa . And even to your old age I am He, &c.

This is one of the promises of God. A minister in the last century collected all the promises of Scripture, and published them in a book by themselves, so that the Christian might consult them at all times and in all states. A wise thing to do.

The promise of the text will show you, if you live to be old, how God will be your friend in that needful time, if you put yourself in the way of the promise. "What do you mean by putting ourselves in the way of the promise?" This. If you are children of God through Jesus Christ, all His promises are your inheritance and estate. His promises are made to His friends; His threats to His enemies. If a man forgets God, and disobeys Him all his lifetime, it would be foolish to suppose that God intended His promises for him; it would be encouraging him in his sin, and others who are like him. Let us proceed with the text by way of question and answer.

I. What has God done for us already? He tells us, "I have made you." He seems to mention it with pleasure, then let me think of it with gratitude. Is my body fearfully and wonderfully made? Have I not an intellectual part, which distinguishes me from the brute creation? Have I not a soul which shall never die? You are paying attention, but it is not your bodies which are doing this. The inhabitant within peeps out at the windows of your body, sees and hears, is collecting knowledge on which it may live and be happy when the house of the body totters with age, and is crumbling into dust. The Psalmist says, "He has made me and fashioned me;" He has made me what is called a man. But there is a higher sense of the expression, "I have made." Has He made you a new man? (2Co ). Have you had a second birth? (Joh 3:3). This second creation far exceeds the first; it is the best of God's works,—the creation of a Christian out of a mere man.

II. What will God do for us in future? He says, "I will bear, I will carry, I will deliver you." This implies weakness and inability in us, support and assistance from Him. Did you ever see a little child hanging upon its mother's gown, crying to be carried, and the cry answered with a kind word and many a kiss? It is thus God bears and carries His children in their journey, when fatigued with trials.—God delivers us in trouble. A state of trouble is a state of trial. It is mentioned to the honour of Job in his great affliction, that in all this he sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. God delivers us also by trouble (Psa ).

III. How long will God bear, carry, and deliver us? To old age and hoary hairs. The Scripture calls age the needful time, and the evil days, when the heart shall say, "I have no pleasure in them." Then we are naturally deprived of many who took an early interest in our welfare. Where are the father, the mother, the friends, whose counsels guided our youth? They are gone, and we must soon follow them. Then, in our loneliness, we shall need the friendship of God. If you would have it then, you must seek it now, in your childhood, and live in it in your youth and your manhood. Cardinal Wolsey, the Minister of Henry VIII., was deserted and disgraced by the king in his old age. In the agony of his mind the Cardinal exclaimed, "Had I but served my God with half the zeal I have served my king, He would not have forsaken me in my old age." Serve God now, in the place of your service; and if you live to be old, He will perform to you the promise of the text; even to hoary hairs He will carry you, He will deliver you.—George Clark, M.A.: Sermons, pp. 415-423.

LESSONS OF THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

Isa . Even to your old age, &c.

The end of the year brings home to us the fact that we are getting older.

I. Acknowledge the fact of advancing age. Not, if you can help it, in casting off the duties you owe to the world and the Church. Not by getting hard, gloomy, uninterested. Still, with a heart as young as ever, and even younger, look the fact of advancing age in the face. It is cowardly and unwise to blindfold yourself before a fact, however unpleasant it may be.

II. Provide for advancing age. Men do so in many respects. They insure, &c. These are well, but they are externals. Now, old age is driven more and more in upon itself. Clearly, then, the mind and heart and conscience should be prepared. It is well to have pleasant guests in the house, when we must stay almost wholly within doors.

III. Ask all proffered comforters and guides if they will stay by you in old age. "Even to," &c. There is no use for a pilot who will not conduct you to port; of a guide who will leave you at the most critical part of your journey. Business, pleasure, &c., do not meet that essential condition. God does, and He alone. He "made, and will bear." He redeemed, and will lead to perfect rest and joy.

IV. To those who are already old. Remember that old age is near the confines of another world. Prepare!—The Homiletical Library, vol. i. p. 319.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 46:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-46.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology