Seven Godly Ways to Die
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
—Hebrews 11:13, emphasis added
This week we have been learning about the church at Smyrna—the saints who experienced martyrdom for Christ’s sake. Their faithfulness unto death was such a sweet-smelling savor unto God. Unless Christ returns soon, all of us face the inevitability of death. Are you ready? Have you planned for the testimony you’d like your funeral to be?
By a few simple preparations, you can really bless your family and friends who stay behind after you’ve gone home to be with Jesus. If you have never done this, I encourage you to take out a sheet of paper and label it: “My Home Going Celebration.” Write out a brief description of how you came to Christ, and of your hope in His salvation. Then share some of your favorite verses, songs, and hymns—and even a word to bless those you leave behind. Do this and, like Abel, you will “speak” even after you’ve died (Hebrews 11:4). To further prepare, consider once more the seven godly examples in Scripture of how to die with grace.
Jacob looked for the Land of Promise to the end of his life. When he was close to death, Jacob called Joseph to his side and said, “Now if I have found favor in your sight, . . . deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers” (Genesis 47:29-30). When Jacob was a young man, God had promised that his people would someday have a Land of Promise, but Egypt was not that land. Jacob therefore asked to be laid to rest in the actual land God was giving to his descendants. He had followed his Shepherd all the way, and trusted his Redeemer to save him from his sins (Genesis 48:15-16). Have you thanked the Lord lately for His grace that is greater than all your sins?
Joseph died pointing to the faithfulness of God. He told his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Genesis 50:24). In the ancient world, when someone was failing in health and was coming to the end of life, the family would gather around and listen to their last words. Inheritances were then divided up. Joseph died pointing his family to the Lord’s promises: “God will surely come to your aid, for He is faithful and will do what He said.”
I frequently hear people regretfully say, “I wish I could do that over.” In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul said to forget what is behind and live for the Lord from today on. If you have not been as faithful as you need to be, start now. Finish the course Christ has laid out for you, and you will experience a great calm as you follow God’s will daily. This is the very best approach to being ready to go “home” any day—and not just when your “to do” list is complete. Consistently living like this is a wonderful way to die!
To read about the next five godly examples in Scripture, please click here.
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