Do you remember ‘Dad’s Army’, the classic British comedy series which ran from 1968 – 1977. It was set in Great Britain, during World War II. It was about a group of men who were part of the Home Guard, protecting Great Britain from Hitler who had taken over the rest of Europe. The Home Guard consisted of men who were ineligible to join the Armed Forces perhaps because they were too old or too young, perhaps they couldn’t pass the medical or had jobs that were thought of as important to the war effort. Even though they were counted as no use to the fighting forces they made themselves invaluable on home soil to the point that the government of the time had to recognise them and furnish them with uniforms and weapons!
Recently I watched a few episodes of ‘Dad’s Army’ and what struck me, through the humour and hilarious escapades, is that, as we get older we often, as Christians, feel as if we are no longer part of the main fighting force in God’s Kingdom. We may even feel that we have still not reached our destiny and have missed it somehow. Let me encourage you, that is not the case. Your experience, maturity, wisdom and knowledge of the Father are vital to the Kingdom’s work. Never count yourself out. We have to be prepared and ready. Just like the older men in ‘Dad’s Army’, it is never too late to be useful to God.
Let’s look at a few examples in the Bible. Both Abraham and Sarah counted themselves too old for God to fulfil His promise to them. In fact they both laughed at the prospect!
“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”” (Genesis 17: 17 NKJV)
+Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”” (Genesis 18: 12 NKJV)
They couldn’t take the promise of God seriously. They had become cynical in their old age. Cynicism can be a real issue as we become older. “Yes sure, God!!”, can be said with sarcasm and not declaration. Are you in your 50″s, 60’s, 70’s. 80’s or older and had prophetic words spoken over you which you have not seen fulfilled yet? Don’t laugh at them and become cynical but declare them as fact. You are what God says you are!! In the end Abraham and Sarah chose to believe God and let Him prove His faithfulness. Can we do the same?
Let’s turn our attention to another Jewish Patriarch and his brother. I am going to let this next verse speak for itself!!
“And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh”. (Exodus 7:& NKJV)
Read it again and let it sink in……. eighty and eighty three!! This is when they spoke to Pharaoh the first time. Even counting for the fact that the Jewish calendar year is slightly smaller than our Gregorian calendar, it is still old!!! They then had the arduous task of leading the Israelites through the wilderness. No wonder Moses needed a staff!!! It is never too late to step into God’s destiny for you. Declare that statement!!
“It is never too late to step into the destiny God has for me.”
Let’s have a look at a couple of people in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, we have the story of the young baby Jesus being taken to the temple by Mary and Joseph for the ritual dedication. There, they come across two amazing people, Simeon and Anna. Let us look at Anna first. Anna was over eighty years of age, a prophet and had given her life to serving in the temple.
“She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2:37b NKJV)
She spent her time fasting and praying. How many of us of the older generation are intercessors? Never count that out as a ministry for the Lord! The reason why Anna is such a good example for us is that she was in the correct place at the correct time. It was no accident. God places us where we need to be and all we need to do is be ready, as Anna was. There she was doing what she always did and then suddenly God gives her the opportunity to speak over the life of the Saviour of the world!! BE READY!!
“ Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38 NKJV)
Simeon personifies all I am trying to say here. It is not stated how old Simeon was but it is implied in the text that he was elderly.
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.” (Luke 2:29 NLT)
As with many of us, God had given Him a word that had not come to fruition. Even though he was older, he knew that God had more for him.
“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.“ (Luke 2:26 NKJV)
Not only was Simeon about to see the fulfilment of the promise given to him by the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit positioned him for it to happen.
“For this reason the Holy Spirit had moved him to be in the temple court at the very moment Jesus’ parents entered to fulfil the requirement of the sacrifice.” (Luke 2:27 Passion Translation)
Let us rest in the fact that it is God’s work that we have been called to and He will bring it to pass. I love how the Passion Translation puts the rest of Simeon’s story.
“Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied, saying:
Lord and Master, I am your loving servant,
And now I can die content,
For your promise to me has been fulfilled.
With my own eyes I have seen your Manifestation,
The Saviour you sent into the world.
He will be glory for your people Israel,
And the Revelation Light
For all people everywhere!” (Luke 2:28-32, Passion Translation)
Just to conclude let’s go back to the Old Testament and look at one of my favourite characters, Caleb!!! He is such an encouragement to us as we grow older. Let’s briefly review his story. Caleb, you will remember, was one of the 12 spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land to see what it was like. When they returned Caleb along with Joshua were the only two who had anything positive to say. The other ten only saw the negative aspects of their new home. There is a whole blog post on that subject. People who always wear a black hat when seeing something new but I refuse to be side tracked!!
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30 NKJV)
God saw Caleb’s faith and rewarded him for it.
“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24 NKJV)
Such a great reward for faithfulness. Chosen, along with Joshua. to be the only ones out of that whole group to enter the Promised Land. Not even Moses made it in!! There is an interesting twist to it though, Caleb had to wait forty five years to see it come to pass!!
“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old!“ (Joshua 14:10 NKJV)
God gave him the promise when he was forty, now he was eighty five. You have a different perspective about life at forty. Life begins at forty so they say. You certainly see life differently but I love Caleb’s attitude here. He is not complaining that he is too old for all this now at his age. This is what he says,
“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” (Joshua 14:11-14 NKJV)
What an amazing man of God we have here and what an amazing God as well. God knew that Caleb would still be able to take full advantage of the fulfilment of the promise. I am declaring that at the age of 85 I still feel as I did at 40. I can tell you, on the surface it doesn’t seem possible but with my God anything is possible.
“ Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matt 19:26 NKJV)
Seriously though, I think the story of Caleb illustrates that no matter what age we are when God fulfils the promises He has given for our destinies, we will not be lacking in strength to fulfil them. He will equip us and provide for us. It may seem impossible but we know that God is faithful.
“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfil His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” (Phil 4:13 Amplified)
This promise is not for the now but it is for the now in the future. When God says go, we will be ready and equipped. Remember it is His work and not ours, All we need to do is be prepared and still be willing. We will finish the race and God will say well done good and faithful servant.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.“ (2Tim 4:7 NKJV)
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14 NKJV)
Let’s not count ourselves ineligible or forgotten, let’s not become cynical but let us be like ‘Dad’d Army’ and be ready, and waiting to be used!!