Tag Archives: Death

Singing with the King (91) – Precious

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones. (Psalm 116:10)

jesuschild9I believe this is the Old Testament precursor of a passage from Revelation:

And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

I first ran across this latter verse when I performed the Brahms Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Now don’t get all impressed with me. I was just a Bass in  a choir of about 150 singers. There are seven movements in the great work, and the one based on the above verse is the final movement, which makes sense. And at the end of this post, you’ll hear this movement. Now back to the Psalm.

From a contextual point of view, verse 10 is rather interesting, because it is the only one dealing with someone actually dying. The remainder of the other 18 verses speak of one that has been delivered from the grasp of death.

The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.  Then I called upon the name of the LORD:  “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;  Yes, our God is compassionate.  The LORD preserves the simple;  I was brought low, and He saved me.  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. (v. 3-8)

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So why insert this verse about death, when all the others are about escaping from it (and being   thankful)? I think the key is in verse 8: For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. You see, for those who have lost a loved one, their eyes have shed many tears, and they have stumbled. But the Psalmist gives them a glimmer of hope when he tells them that their loved one is one of the Lord’s godly ones, and their death is precious in His sight.

Some of the meanings of the Hebrew word for precious are: prized, rare, highly valued and influential. And all those describe my friend Mark. For those who knew him, and many much better than I, you can see those words describing Mark. But the most important aspect of Mark 20245779_10154842661725872_4178047506386990472_nis that he was and is one of  the Lord’s godly ones. And since his death is precious to God, I have no doubt that it grieved our Heavenly Father—or rather—our Heavenly Father grieves for Mark’s wife Lorri, and their families; because Mark is now with Him, probably shooting videos—and the resolution is out of this world.

So for those who have grieved, cried and stumbled, know two things (at least):

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.. (Philippians 4:12-14)

Because Mark is one of His godly ones, we DO have hope. And despite our tears and stumbling, we need to continue to press on. For like him, we too will one day rest from our labors.


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Singing with the King (55) – Like Them #1

Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:8)

golden imageLast week we talked about the nature of idols. This week we look at the nature of their makers. And this is a very scary verse:  Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. In other words— dead. If you want to live, then you must believe in the living God. But if you don’t care about eternal life, then any idol serve its purpose, to lead you to death.

We must ask the question, who is doing the making? Is it the one true living God, or is  man getting it wrong again? The One Who lives, creates life. The one who is dead, can only manifest death. Actually, cannot manifest anything. The manifestations are left up to those who make them and worship them.

When being compared to idols we are way too similar. How do you feel about that? Go through that list of characteristics that describe them, and now apply them to you.

  • They cannot speak
  • They cannot see
  • They cannot hear
  • They cannot smell
  • They cannot feel
  • They cannot walk
  • They cannot make a sound with their throat

But you say, “That doesn’t apply to me! Why by my very objection, you can see that I can talk, and if I am of a more expressive variety, here I am waving my hands.” And physically, that is all very true. But spiritually, you are more like the idol then you understand.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. (Ephesians 2:1)

It is a sad thing that we have become both the deceived and the deceivers; that we would choose death over life, and encourage others to join us.

But that is our nature. Consider what it is that God gives to us, and that which an idol never can. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) That’s what Jesus said, life abundant.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, then you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things (1 Tim 6:13)

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of the regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

It is obvious to see by all of the preceding verses, that life is a result of loving, serving, and being in the presence of the Lord of life. But making, worshiping, and serving  idols will only result in one thing— death. Because Those who make them will become like them. Next week we’ll discuss the scope of these actions.