JOYFUL HOPE AT THE TIME OF DEATH
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15
The death of one of God’s loved ones is precious in His sight. The Hebrew word for precious is ‘yaqar’ which is defined as dear, valuable, or costly. I have read that “each Biblical Hebrew word is a precious jewel to be discovered.” Hidden within the jewel of the Hebrew word yaqar is a revealing of God’s heart regarding the death of His saints. It is most dear to Him. Although the event of death brings great sadness, with separation being so difficult to fathom, it is a precious event for God, such as with the birth of a child on the earth. An event so dear to the heart of God gives those who are left behind joyful hope at the time of death.
The Lord calls death precious as with the birth of a child on the earth, for it is the entrance of His loved one into heaven. Similarly, just as one may rejoice by being united with a loved one after a long separation, so it is for the Lord to see one of His own enter heaven. The one who belongs to God is now with Him forever in eternal fellowship.
If death was the ultimate end of life, then it would not be precious to God, for He is the very Author of life, both on the earth as well as eternally in heaven. For Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) The Lord IS life. He is eternal and has gifted His own with everlasting life by His grace. This gift of grace, which was accomplished through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, is now extended to those who would place their faith and trust in Him. Life on earth, from birth to death, can be viewed as a brief period of preparation for the grand event of entering heaven to be with the Lord forever.
A life span on earth is a brief time of equipping one of God’s own for eternal life in heaven. This life span, which is but a vapor, can be compared to the life span within the womb, where a human being is prepared for mortal life upon the earth. Just as the womb is only meant to be a temporary dwelling place, so life on earth is a temporal place of preparation for heaven. This life span has a determined amount of days which are numbered by God. It is written in the Word of God:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
God’s Word teaches that it is wise for one to be conscious of the fact that our days are finite. Wise living equips us for heaven and begins with a surrendering of our hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, that He might forgive and cleanse us from our sins. As we accept Christ’s invitation for the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life, we receive His gift of salvation by placing our faith and trust in Him. Christ can now begin His work in our lives to prepare us to live with Him in heaven. We are invited to build our earthly life upon Jesus, who teaches us to know, please, and love Him and others, for this is His will. “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
It is God’s desire that we store up treasures in heaven by doing His will. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “ (Matthew 6:20) To live is Christ: to walk with Him and please Him. To die is gain: the gaining is the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls and eternal life with Christ forever. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Death now becomes a joyous event, an entrance into eternal life and the realization of our hope to be with Christ, Who is our treasure.
As one of our loved ones, who has received the gift of Christ’s salvation, passes from death to eternal life, we can find great peace and strength from the Lord. The Word of God, full of living hope and promises, comforts us with certain joyful hope of being reunited with our loved ones who know Christ. Our faithful King and High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, keeps the promises of His Word. He is the very conqueror of death. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) We can joyfully stand on the truth of the promises from the Word of God. Death, the precious passage to eternity, becomes a birth into the presence of Jesus. What is precious in God’s sight, gives those left behind joyful hope. To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6)
Precious (yaqar) in God’s sight is the death of His saints.
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day,
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadow’s flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”
(“Abide With Me” by Henry F. Lyte)
© 2019 by Annette Hahner for writing. (c) 2019 ELICIA ROY for photographic image. All Rights Reserved.