DEATH IS COMING
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Death Is Coming
Death is a subject few of us want to discuss. There is an old country song titled, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” that tells it like it is. Every verse ends with the words, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
The writer of Hebrews puts it this way in the NIV, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” Hebrews 9:27
We all know the old saying that there are only two sure things in life, death, and taxes. That is a fact, although many of us have learned that taxes come before and after death.
A survey was taken from a group of children on the subject of death. They had some interesting things to say.
· A 7-year-old boy said, "God doesn't tell you when you are going to die because He wants it to be a big surprise."
· A 9-year-old girl said, "When you die, you don't have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too."
· An 8-year-old boy said, "The hospital is the place where people go on their way to heaven."
· A 9-year-old girl said, "Doctors help you so you won't die until you pay all your bills."
· A 10-year-old boy said, "I'm not afraid to die because I'm a Boy Scout."
The reason there is so much humor in these responses is that there is a lot of brutally, honest, truth in them.
As a pastor and hospice chaplain I have observed that many people spend much of their lives pretending that death is not in their future. I think that when some folks purchase life insurance policies, they somehow think that by getting money for their beneficiaries they avoid death’s consequences. The only consequence we avoid is some of the financial struggles that will come. But other consequences that remain include the grief of loved ones, the necessity of filling the roles in life that the deceased held and the most important and personal one; that of meeting God for judgment.
When Saul was anointed King over Israel, the last thing he would have considered was his eventual death. He was young, vital and a man on top of the world. As we observe the new King’s life, we begin to see how he began to forget that as King of Israel, he was to be the humble servant of God. Samuel had not wanted to anoint a King because God was the King, and no man deserved that throne. However God accepted the people’s cry for a King and warned them through Samuel that the nation would prosper, or decline based on the King’s relationship with God.
Saul began to disobey God and finally Samuel told him that God would take the Holy Spirit from his life and eventually would remove him from his kingdom. Generally, for kings, they leave their position toes up in death. It is interesting that, despite Samuel’s warnings, he never repented from his self-centered, godless way of life. His bitterness and envy of David caused him to become more sinful every day.
In the 28th chapter, through the witch or medium of Endor Samuel warned Saul that he and his sons would die in the upcoming invasion of the Philistines. However, he did nothing to deter its eventuality. The 31st chapter tells us how that, in battle, the Israelites were being sliced and diced by the deadly attack and Saul was struck by an archer’s arrow. Saul attempted to get his armor bearer to finish him off, but he feared taking the life of God’s anointed. Saul was terrified that the Philistines would torture and behead him, so he fell on his own sword. The armor bearer then followed suit and took his own life. Sadly, the Philistines still made an example of the King and his sons by beheading their dead bodies and taking them home and hanging them on the walls of their cities.
Saul never thought he would die, but he did.
Jesus, on the other hand, came to earth in human form for the purpose of dying a horrific death. His plan to die was one that had purpose. He was dying for the sins of the world. His plan also included a miraculous resurrection.
You and I will one day face that final phase of life. The only way that doesn’t happen is if Jesus returns ahead of that moment. Saul was not prepared for death. His ending was devastating.
How will your earthly end turn out?
This Saturday, I will have the privilege of delivering the memorial sermon for my friend Victor Porter. Victor was so comfortable with talking about death that he frequently told me and several others how he wanted his funeral to go. Even the day before his unexpected sudden death, he was talking to me about some things he wanted for his funeral service. He wanted his service to be a celebration of his life and his Lord. And that is exactly what people can expect.
I hope we all can see death from God’s perspective. It is a moment when the Christ follower will celebrate life eternal with our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
This Sunday, we will continue our series of messages titled When God Build’s a King How a lowly shepherd became a great King with a message titled A Tragic End based on 1 Samuel 31:1-13. I hope you will join us in learning about Saul’s end and how our lives can begin.
Ready to go,