GOD counts the DEATH of His CHILDREN as ‘VALUABLE’
June 23 Bible Reading: Psalms Chapters 111-118
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Psalms 116:15)
The Bible scholars have categorized Psalms 116 as one of the most personal of all the thanksgiving psalms because of the fact that the personal pronoun, “I”, occurs about 16 times within the 19 verses of this psalm. This psalm can be divided into three parts: first, where the psalmist declares praises to God (vv. 1-2); second, where the psalmist recalls the troubles in his life and how God had delivered him from them in the past (vv. 3–11); and third, where the psalmist describes what he will offer as a thanksgiving for what God has done already in his life (vv. 12–19).
However, tucked within the personal pronouncements of the psalmist is a profound statement that appears to be an acute observation about God: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." This verse is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible on the death of God’s child, and in the broadest sense, this statement is true for all godly people living on this earth, about whom God has remarked in another psalm: “As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.’” (Ps. 16:3) The deaths of these saints are precious to God because it means that they would be in eternal fellowship with Him in glory forever. But it was even truer in the case of the Lord Jesus, whose death was precious to His Father because it provided a righteous basis upon which He could justify ungodly sinners.
The Bible is clear that there are two deaths if we are born only once and only one death if we are born twice! The two deaths referred above are: (a) physical death, which is the separation of the soul from the body, and (b) eternal death (or, second death), which is the ultimate separation from God and the final misery of the wicked in hell (Rev. 2:11; 20:14; 21:8). For the child of God who is born the second time (John 3:3-8), physical death becomes the entrance into the larger and more abundant life when the soul of the believer goes to be with the Lord forever. So, if we are ‘born again’, we die only once physically but thereafter we live forever! God loved the people of this earth so much that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into this world (John 3:16) so that everyone gets an opportunity to be ‘born again’ and receive the eternal life that God has promised His children.
The deaths of His ‘born again’ children are precious events in the sight of God. God values His own so much that He makes their deaths as valuable appointments, which are part of His loving plan for them (Ps. 31:15). In the sense of cost, both the lives and deaths of His children are significant, important and valuable for God. On the other hand, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and this is what He speaks on this subject: "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord God. (Ezek. 18:30-32)
However, when a child of God dies, his/her death is precious in the eyes of God as it is seen from a heaven-based perspective (see Ps. 139:16). God is truly overjoyed when He welcomes His children home, and He even stands on the other side of the veil with His arms wide open to welcome His children into His presence. We know this to be true because Stephen, who was just about to be martyred, actually saw Jesus standing up to receive His beloved son into His glorious abode: “But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” (Acts 7:55-56)
Let us be clear that God has set a time when He plans to call us home, and that moment is precious in His sight. No matter where we are in our life’s journey, our ultimate destination is to be with Christ, which is far better (Phil. 1:23). This should give us confidence in facing life’s challenges and provide us comfort when saints of God leave us for that glorious home that Christ has prepared for His children in heaven (see John 14:1-3). Let us always ‘set our house in order’ (2 Kings 20:1), and constantly prepare ourselves for that precious moment that will eventually come in our lives one day in the future.