27. DEATH VANQUISHED
"How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God!"
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be your destruction: repentance shall be hid from My eyes. Hosea 13:14
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15
In the first of these "precious thoughts," God is represented in a past eternity as looking down the vista of the future. He sees a captive world doomed to destruction; its perishing millions laden with fetters moving onwards to death and the grave. He hears their cry. It stirs the thoughts and longings of His divine heart. "I will ransom them," He exclaims, "from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death!" Nor was this a mere passing thought, a transient emotion, akin to the human pity which is evoked for the moment by some spectacle of pain or distress. Many generous and benevolent "thoughts" of man have never been embodied in deed. Many noble resolves die away with the hour which gave them birth—"that very day his thoughts perish."
But what God "thought" He did. He gave the costliest proof which Omnipotence could give, of the reality and intensity of these thoughts. The ransom-price He paid to "redeem from death" was the blood of His own—His only Son. By the doing and dying of Jesus, Death has now become to the believer a vanquished foe—no, the hour of dissolution is in reality the commencement—the birthday of a nobler life. It is the dropping of the flower to let the fruit expand—the bursting of the prison-bars to lead the soul out to gladsome light and freedom. We can look forward with triumphant hope and joy to that hour, when the eternal 'thought' in all its sublime magnitude shall be fulfilled—buried myriads starting from their graves—their every chain broken—the king of terrors dethroned and uncrowned—and the triumphant song of the risen dead ascending, "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Reader, the time of your death is a solemn moment—when about to enter the realities of the eternal spirit-world. But precious is that moment in the sight and in the thoughts of God! You may possibly then be removed from the loving thoughts of others. Cherished voices may be separated by distance when the last enemy overtakes you. But there will be divine thoughts and a divine Presence which cannot be away. When words can no longer be heard—when too weak to listen, too feeble to speak—one joyous and blessed assurance will be yours—"My God thinks of me!"
As an earthly father's tenderest thoughts are on his dying child, so is it with our Heavenly Father. The life of His people, indeed, is lovingly watched over and cherished by Him; but specially "precious in the sight of the Lord" is their death. An earthly father's most joyous thoughts are in the prospect of welcoming his long absent child once more to his dwelling—precious and joyous also in the sight of the Lord, as each member of His ransomed family stands on the heavenly threshold, ready to enter the Eternal Home—the adopted child—the cherished heir, ready to take possession of the Everlasting Inheritance!
Or, is it the death of some member of the household of faith who is near and dear to you? precious also is their death in the sight of the Lord. Their pillow is smoothed by Divine hands—"So He gives His beloved sleep." They may now be precious only in your memory, but they are precious in God's "sight." Yes! in His full vision and fruition "the beloved of the Lord shall dwell safely."
Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise You! Psalm 63:3