22 January 2003

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints"- Psalms 116:15

There are many precious things in the world. Their being precious is owing to their rarity and worth. If we were to dig diamonds in our yards who would wear them on their fingers or give them as tokens of love? And if gold grew on trees it would be worth little for exchange. So, things being scarce, become precious in our sight. The bible sets things aright concerning what is truly precious. Though we have heard of people paying millions of dollars for a trinket that belonged to a movie star, how can that compare to the "precious blood of Christ" that paid for the sins of a multitude? Yes, the world has its precious things and so does heaven! David, in his 139th psalm, declared the Lord's thoughts to be "precious" and in the book of Proverbs, Solomon raises wisdom to the platform of "precious" things. Peter tells us that the trial of our faith is more "precious" than gold and he found the promises of God to be exceeding great and "precious". These, and many others, we might easily understand to be precious. But how does death fit into this category of "precious" things. I have heard some say that this speaks of the death of God's people, when they depart from this life to be with the Lord. Yet, I find Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. He did not call for a party. The grief of His friends became His own. It must be something else. If you will notice, this psalm begins with prayer, it speaks of sorrow, trouble and anguish of soul as the psalmist wrestles with himself, seeking the righteous arm of the Lord. Though the psalmist thought that he might die a literal, physical death, he didn't, nor shall we in the midst of our troubles. He found another death, a death that was precious in the sight of the Lord, a death that gave him peace: he died to himself! You may be saying, "What does this mean, to die to self?" It simply means that we have died to our own ambitions and desires ... .in short, having our own way. We are no longer angry with the world and God because they did not live up to our expectations. It also means that we have bruised the serpent's head concerning a particular temptation or sin. A death to self and to sin, is most precious in the sight of the Lord. Allow me to expand a little on this and we shall be through for the day. It also means that we have died to anger, to bitterness, to a backbiting tongue, to a lustful thought, to hatred and even to fears. It can even mean that we have died to our own mistakes, failures and sins of the past. That we have taken them to Jesus and crucified them on His cross. Surely, these things are rare in a world focused on self gratification. Yet, I believe the psalmist to be wise. His peace was found in the precious things of the Lord. Father, let this precious truth sink deep in our souls. Help us to die, that we may live for thee and become precious in thy sight!