Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
How can that be? We must grow old. Every day brings us nearer to old age, and there is no escaping it except by premature departure. We pass on by stages which succeed each other in regular and well marked order from infancy to the last scene of all, the second childhood, which finds us "sans teeth, eyes, taste - everything." With all of us age creeps on apace, but almost unnoticed. Now, our ideal of age shifts. Children think all grown up people old, and some very old. But when men come to the verge of three score years and ten, they will often flatter themselves that even yet they are not old. But there are certain unmistakable signs which no observant man can fail to notice, and which remind him that the day of life is on the wane. Physical fatigue; less of elasticity and power; he gives in sooner than he did when strain is put on his strength. The way the young treat us. In Thackeray's beautiful story, 'The Newcomes,' he pictures the colonel sitting in his cheerless room, and hearing his boy and his friends singing and making merry overhead. He longed to join them and share in it; but the party would be hushed if he went in, and he would come away sad at heart to think that his presence should be the signal for silence among them, and that his son could not be merry in his company. "We go into the company of young men like Chris Newcome and his friends; they cease their laughter and subdue their talk to the gravity which is supposed to be fit for the ears of the seniors. Then we know, too plainly to be mistaken, what has befallen us; we are growing older; the stamp of middle age is upon us." But if the juniors do not bring home the fact to us, the conduct of the seniors does. Old men have confidence in our judgment, grow civil as they see we are approaching to their side, and have arrived at an age when it should be no longer true that "knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." They think they can trust no man, and they consult us as they never would have done had not the dew of our youth long ago disappeared. Yes; we must grow old. And why should we regret it? It is an honour and reward which are given of God. "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, as a shock of corn," etc. The Bible never speaks of "the dreary gift of years;" and if, in melancholy mood, Moses asserts that which, thank God, is so often untrue, that in the years of old age "their strength is but labour and sorrow," the general tone of the Bible tells that days "long in the land" are God's own reward to his people. But whether we be content or no at the inevitable advance of age, there is the fact, and hence the question comes again - How can a renewed youth be? "Can a man enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Now -
I. THE TEXT DECLARES THE FACT OF RENEWED YOUTH. And this in no mere poetic sense, but literally and truly. It says, "like the eagle," which year by year renews its plumage, and so seems to renew its vigour and activity along with its new garment.
1. But the renewal of our youth is not physical. Though the bodily life be sustained and nourished by appropriate food and rest, yet, in spite of this, the physical energies succumb to the decay of nature. The outward man not only does, but must, perish. The reservoir gets lower, the constant drain is but inadequately repaired, and by and by our life has all run out. No elixir vitae can prevent this. It is inevitable.
2. But the renewal told of in the text is spiritual. As in Job 33:23-26, where not physical, but spiritual, rejuvenescence is the theme. "They go from strength to strength;" "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;" "Whoso liveth and believeth on me," said our Lord," shall never die." Of Moses it is said that his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. What an illustration have we in the life of St. Paul of this ever-renewed youth!
3. The characteristics of youth belong to such. Capacity for progress, growth, development. It is never too late for them. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." Hopefulness. The path of their life is lit up by the sunshine of the love of God, and it grows brighter and brighter. Enjoyment. The keen relish for all that is delightful is one of the blessed appanages of youth, and that which is like to it is part of the blessedness of that rejuvenescence of which we are speaking. Fulness of joy in his presence is theirs. Innocence, also. "The wicked one toucheth them not." Strength and vigour. They are as athletes in the contests which they have to wage: in the spiritual conflicts they fight, "not uncertainly, as one that beateth the air," but theirs is "the good fight," not only for the object for which it is waged, but for its manner and issue also. Such is this renewed youth.
II. EXPLAINS ITS SECRET. "He satisfieth thy mouth with good things." Christ is the Bread of their life, and they live by him. His are the "good things" by which they are sustained. This is the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which accounts for their renewed youth. They eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; he is their living Bread. They follow his footsteps, they drink into his Spirit; the mind which was in Christ is formed in them, and they grow up into him in all things.
III. ENCOURAGES US TO MAKE IT OUR OWN. Is youth yet ours? Then by yielding our young hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ, let us receive from him that eternal life, that life of the Spirit, whose youth is ever renewed. But if youth has passed away for us, let us in like manner renew it, and gain again all those blessed characteristics, only in far higher degree and manner, which are God's gift to them that are young. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.