I met some dear people today to arrange a funeral. The wife, daughter and her fiancé and aunt are in shock and pain because the death was extremely sudden. I am aware that so many people at this present time are in bereavement due to the loss of a loved one, friend, neighbor and colleague through COVID.
As I started writing this note, my one neighbor sent me a message to say a neighbor across the street tested positive for COVID. Fortunately, we have not spoken to each other for months. All we have done is wave when we see each other. The issue is that for those bereaved, death is a huge shock creating stress that is on the top of the stress chart. Although the deceased did not die of COVID, his wife and daughter were told he would be out of hospital soon, but then they were called to say he is not well. By the time they reached the hospital, he had passed on.
The loss is, great and no one knows what the bereaved are going through because their pain and suffering is unique to them. Not only had the daughter lost a dad … she was due to be married in about two months’ time. Something equally touching came from the fiancé. He said that he is the man he is because his father-in-law to be taught him everything he knows about life and work. As the wife spoke, she started to cry … and I was stabbed in my heart. The pain of loss … and so suddenly. They were waiting to collect him and take him home. This never happened. He would walk his daughter down the aisle. This won’t happen.
I say again … their pain is unique. No one knows what they are going through … not even someone who has lost a loved one … because emotionally, spiritually and practically we are all different. But is death only pain, heartache and loss? Today as I feel for these dear people, I am reminded that God has something to say in His Word about death … the death of a Christian.
Ps 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants.
The older versions read, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”
I love this … “of His saints.” Just thinking through this verse makes me want to shout for joy … and write a sermon. Just consider the other side of the pain and suffering and hurt and confusion and loss: death comes to all.
Heb 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
I remember Professor Chris Barnard saying he has a “tablet” to extend life. He died! Some die in infancy, others when they are very old (90 odd or more), and everyone else in between. The point … everyone dies. Irrespective of how we try to live to extend our lives, we will all die. Yet there is more to death … see how the verse proceeds … “and after that to face judgment”.
Is this the reason many don’t want to die? Is this the reason they attempt to extend their lives? They don’t want to die because death means facing God’s Judgment Throne! For the one not covered in the precious blood of the Lamb of God … death followed by judgment will be the worst experience ever, because theirs is the Lake of Fire. Fire that never burns out … pain that never ceases … agony that is unending!
Death comes to saints. Firstly, who are saints? No they are not made saints by a church. Rather, saints are Christians. People who are born again by God’s Spirit and part of Jesus’ Eternal Kingdom are called saints by God! Saints are divinely made, not manmade … and no, we cannot talk to them. Saints die like unsaved people, and once dead you cannot communicate with them. That would be ancestral worship! So God does not spare His saints from death. Hebrews 9:27 refers to all mankind, saved and unsaved … saints and damned. The saint will be judged as well … and found not guilty because of being covered in the Blood of Jesus.
Ro 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Death is precious to God because the death is the death of one of His saints. Please note that this point does not refer to or apply to the non-Christian. When the saint dies, his or her death is precious to God. Don’t think in human terms. God does not receive pleasure the way humans receive pleasure … and no … the pain and suffering for many in their death is not what I’m referring to. That does not give God pleasure!
The reason the saint’s death is precious in the sight of the Lord is because that death ushers the saint into glory and heaven resounds in praise because each time a saints dies and enters heaven … God the Father smiles with pleasure because again and again the benefits of Jesus’ sacrificial, substitutional death and resurrection are proved successful! Each time, the Cross achieved its purpose!
Another aspect of God’s pleasure in the death of His saints is that each death pulls the Final Day of this World closer to the end. We don’t know how long this world will continue, but God does … and according to His “time schedule”, the end is coming closer!
Still another aspect of God’s pleasure in the death of His saints is those souls chosen to be holy and blameless in His sight are now just that … holy and blameless in His sight … for they are right there with him in His glory! They are where they belong.
I am sure you’ll agree with me that this message begs a challenge! Will your coming death bring pleasure to God because you will be with Him in His Paradise, away from all sin, sickness and suffering? You can be certain by working through the Gospel message, coming to a positive result: “Yes … I belong to Jesus Christ through faith because of grace. I’m blood-covered and blood-protected and live to prove I belong to my Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Dear God, thank You that my death will be precious in Your sight … I’m blood-protected through Jesus. Amen.