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The Red Hackle By David Roper

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1 The Red Hackle By David Roper on Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:52 am


The Red Hackle By David Roper

Read: Psalm 92:12–15

They will still bear fruit in old age. Psalm 92:14

Several years ago I stumbled across a bit of fishing lore in a second-century ad work by the Greek writer Aelian. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astracus, and in it there are fish with spotted skins [trout].” He then describes a “snare for the fish, by which they get the better of them. They fastened crimson red wool round a hook and attached two feathers. Then they would throw their snare, and the fish, attracted by the color, comes up, thinking to get a mouthful” (On the Nature of Animals).

Fishermen still use this lure today. It is called the Red Hackle. First used over 2,200 years ago, it remains a snare for trout by which we “get the better of them.”

When I read that ancient work I thought: Not all old things are passé—especially people. If through contented and cheerful old age we show others the fullness and deepness of God, we’ll be useful to the end of our days. Old age does not have to focus on declining health, pining over what once was. It can also be full of tranquility and mirth and courage and kindness, the fruit of those who have grown old with God.

“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord . . . shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Ps. 92:13–14 nkjv).

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness throughout our lives. Help us finish our lives well in service to You and to remember that old age does not mean uselessness.

As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying.


In today’s Scripture, Psalm 92, the psalmist proclaims in verse 12 that the righteous—the faithful—will flourish like a palm tree and grow like the cedars of Lebanon. The palm tree was associated with value—both ornamental and economic—and palm fronds were already being used in worship (Lev. 23:40). The cedars of Lebanon are almost always used in Scripture to illustrate strength, stability, and majesty. At the time this psalm was written, magnificent evergreen (cedar) forests graced the mountains of Lebanon. With low branches and expansive canopies, these trees can reach up to 100 feet tall. The psalmist’s prayer is for the righteous to increase like the cedar and blossom like the palm tree.

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