REMEMBER…there is only ONE STEP between US and DEATH: Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and went and said to Jonathan, "What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?" So Jonathan said to him, "By no means! You shall not die! Indeed, my father will do nothing either great or small without first telling me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!" Then David took an oath again, and said, "Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said, 'Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.' But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death." (1 Sam. 20:1-3)
The above passage is part of a remarkable story of a crown prince (Jonathan), who was willing to surrender his future kingdom to his commoner friend (David), the one person about whom he was convinced that God had chosen as the next king of Israel. However, his father Saul was obsessed with an ungodly jealousy of David, which has prompted him to try twice to kill David with a javelin. This is why David explains to Jonathan that there was just one step between him and death, as he already had to side step twice in order to remain alive when Saul had aimed his javelin at him!
It is apparent that Jonathan is unaware of the recent attempts on David’s life by his father (19:9–24), and naively assumed that Saul would follow through on the oath that he had taken earlier not to kill David (19:6). However, in the upcoming narrative we still find Saul still chasing David all over the countryside trying to catch and kill him. In fact, Saul had sent his servants to capture David, but the Spirit of God was so heavy they would just begin to prophesy when they came near Samuel and David. After this happened to three different groups of servants, Saul finally came personally, but before he got to David, he too began to prophesy. God was indeed protecting His anointed servant David from bodily harm and a premature death!
We now know the complete story of David’s life that he did not die in the hands of Saul, but died as an old man after he had ruled over Israel for forty years (1 Kings 2:10-11). However, David had not knowledge about his future life, and firmly believed that he was just one step away from death and eternity (1 Sam. 20:3).
This is a sober reality that is true for every person alive on this earth…we are just a step away from death. Hebrews 9:27 reads: "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment". God is the One who has made that appointment, and we do not know just when that appointment has been made and when the angel of death will come knocking at our door. Let us face the fact that this appointment often comes far sooner than we anticipate!
It was James who asks us this question: "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). As we get older, we should begin to realize our mortality and live to please God alone. Let us not make long-term plans like the rich man in the parable spoken by Jesus who wanted to pull down and build bigger barns in order to store all his fruit and goods. This man thought that he would be able to just relax and enjoy life for many years, but God had different thoughts about him and his earthly life ended that very night itself. He was just a step away from death and did not even know it (Luke 12:16-20). The story of Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, is very similar due to the fact that he was killed the same night that he held his expansive party using the gold vessels captured from the temple in Jerusalem (see Daniel 5:1-30).
Due to the fact that we are just a step away from death, let us live holy and righteous lives in obedience to God’s Word. Let us pray to God will help us to know the brevity of our lives, and pray these words sincerely: "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalms 90:12). Let us be faithful in utilizing our time, talents and treasures for God’s kingdom as wise and faithful servants of God (Luke 12:42-47). As we live for God in this manner, we will be ready to step into His kingdom when God tells us to take our last step on this earth. If our lives are not right with God today, remember that "…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). Now is the right time to get right with God for there is only one step between us and death!