Seventy Years

The figure seventy is found in the Bible in many places in different contexts. Psalm 90:10 says that the years of our life are seventy, and by reason of strength eighty. They soon end and we fly away. This verse is often interpreted to mean that seventy years is a limit that is imposed by God on human life.

In the same psalm, its writer Moses prays later, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:12,14) And in the next psalm, God reassures that “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:16)

At seventy, people surely begin to look old. But we also see these days that the human lifespan is expanding steadily. Many people live beyond eighty, some even beyond hundred. Demographic experts estimate that after 2050, old people will begin to outnumber the young. It is difficult to imagine how such a world would be like. People living longer may be fit and healthy but they would certainly not remain young.

India would soon be completing seventy years of its independence from foreign rule. But a nation of seventy years is by no means old, it is young. It is full of energy, it is adventurous, it sees dreams of a beautiful future.

There are various methods of marking time. The very concept of time is different for human beings, for nations and for God. A thousand ages in God’s sight are just like an evening gone! (Psalm 90:4) God lives in a time frame of eternity. For him, seventy years are like a fraction of a moment!

For a man who makes God his eternal refuge, there is no need to worry about his age. (Psalm 91:12)

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