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46:1 For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. NIV
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. NIV
First, Their persons are precious to the Lord. They ever were and always will be dear to Him. His saints! They were the ones on whom His love was set before the earth was formed or the heavens made. These are they for whose sakes He left His Home on high and whom He bought with His precious blood, cheerfully laying down His life for them. These are they whose names are borne on our great High Priest's breast and engraven on the palms of His hands. They are His Father's love-gift to Him, His children, members of His body; therefore, everything that concerns them is precious in His sight. The Lord loves His people so intensely that the very hairs of their heads are numbered: the angels are sent forth to minister unto them; and because their persons are precious unto the Lord so also are their deaths.
Second, Because death terminates the saint's sorrows and sufferings. There is a needs-be for our sufferings, for through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Nevertheless, the Lord does not "afflict willingly" (Lamentations 3:33). God is neither unmindful of nor indifferent to our trials and troubles. Concerning His people of old it is written, "In all their affliction he was afflicted" (Isaiah 63:9). "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" (Psalms 103:13). So also are we told that our great High Priest is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). Here, then, may be another reason why the death of a saint is precious in the sight of the Lord-because it marks the termination of his sorrows and sufferings.
22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. NIV
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. NIV
9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. NIV
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; NIV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. NIV
Third, Because death affords the Lord an opportunity to display His sufficiency. Love is never so happy as when ministering to the needs of its cherished object, and never is the Christian so needy and so helpless as in the hour of death. But man's extremity is God's opportunity. It is then that the Father says to His trembling child, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10). It is because of this that the believer may confidently reply, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." Our very weakness appeals to His strength, our emergency to His sufficiency. Most blessedly is this principle illustrated in the well-known words "He shall gather the lambs (the helpless ones) with his arm, and carry them in his bosom" (Isaiah 40:11). Yes, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore is the death of the saints "precious" in His sight because it affords the Lord a blessed occasion for His love, grace and power to minister unto and undertake for His helpless people.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. NIV
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. NIV
Fourth, Because at death the saint goes direct to the Lord. The Lord delights in having His people with Himself. Blessedly was this evidenced all through His earthly ministry. Wherever He went, the Lord took His disciples along with Him. Whether it was to the marriage at Cana, to the holy feasts in Jerusalem, to the house of Jairus when his daughter lay dead, or to the Mount of Transfiguration, they ever accompanied Him. How blessed is that word in Mark 3:14, "He ordained twelve, that they should be with him." And He is "the same yesterday and today and for ever." Therefore has He assured us, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). Precious then is the death of the saints in His sight, because absent from the body we are "present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). While we are sorrowing over the removal of a saint, Christ is rejoicing. His prayer was "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory" (John 17:24), and in the entrance into Heaven of each one of His own people, He sees an answer to that prayer and is glad. He beholds in each one that is freed from "this body of death" another portion of the reward for His travail of soul, and He is satisfied with it. Therefore the death of His saints is precious to the Lord, for it occasions Him ground for rejoicing. It is most interesting and instructive to trace out the fullness of the Hebrew word here translated "precious." it is also rendered "excellent." "How excellent is Thy loving kindness, 0 God!" (Psalms 36:7). "A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit" (Proverbs 17:27). However worthily or unworthily he may live, the death of a saint is excellent in the sight of the Lord. The same Hebrew word is also rendered "honourable." "Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women" (Psalms 45:9). So Ahasuerus asked of Haman "What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?" (Esther 6:6). Yes, the exchange of heaven for earth is truly honourable, and "This honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord." This Hebrew word is also rendered "brightness." "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness" (Job 31:26). Dark and gloomy though death may be unto those whom the Christian leaves behind, it is brightness "in the sight of the Lord": "at evening time it shall be light" (Zechariah 14:7). Precious, excellent, honourable, brightness in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. May the Lord make this little meditation precious unto His saints.
Arthur W. Pink
14 He appointed twelve — designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach NIV
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. NIV
2 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. NIV
24 "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. NIV