The LORD Mercifully Gives Life
“Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.... Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (Psalm 119:40-41, 57)
Graveyards can be interesting places. Usually they are quiet places, and you can walk around and read the names and see the birthdays and the death dates of the people whose bodies are buried underground there. Most graveyards have stone markers that show the places where people's bodies have been buried. Why do we say that their bodies are buried? Well, for Christians who have died, the body is the only part that is placed in a casket and buried underground or in a mausoleum (a tomb). The Bible teaches that when a Christian's body dies, his or her soul keeps on living and goes immediately to be with the Lord – not to a graveyard or tomb.
One reason graveyards are interesting is that they are a good place to go if you need to think. The Bible says we can learn much from visiting the "house of mourning." It is good for us to be reminded that we are on Earth only for one lifetime. Some of the birthdays and death dates of those people do not have very many years between them. Some of those markers are memorials for children, teen-agers, and middle-aged people. You might see a family member who has come to visit a grave of a loved one. Some people come and talk to the graves. Can their loved ones still hear them? Can they talk back?
A dead person's ears do not work anymore. They cannot hear. They cannot speak. They cannot come back to life and have a conversation with living people who come to visit the graveyard. Even if a dead person could hear, and even if a dead person could speak, he would not be able to choose between silence and speaking. He would not be able to choose between not breathing and breathing. Part of being dead is being unable to do what living people can do.
The Bible uses the imagery of being dead or being alive to show what God does in our hearts when He saves us from our sin. Until Jesus Christ saves us, we are "spiritually dead." We were born that way! Our physical bodies are alive, but we are not "alive" spiritually. Like a grave, we are stuck in our sin. We are trapped. We are unable to get out of our sinfulness on our own. We are unable to choose righteousness, because true righteousness is something that spiritually dead people cannot have. Only the spiritually alive people can be truly righteous and truly right with God.
Psalm 119:40-41 tells us about One Who is truly righteous, and He is the only One Who can make us spiritually alive. When it says "quicken," it means "make alive." The psalmist is praying that the LORD would bring him to life by His righteousness and because of His righteousness. He prays that the LORD's mercies will come to him. Only the LORD can give spiritual life. He is a merciful God, and He saves people out of their sinfulness and spiritual death because of His righteousness, His mercy, and His faithful Word. Are you trusting the LORD to do what you cannot do on your own? Are you trusting Him to "quicken" you (to bring you to life) in His righteousness?
Spiritual life is a merciful gift only God can give.
» Am I able to "quicken" myself from spiritual deadness to spiritual life?
» Is my heart trapped and weighed down by sinfulness?
» Is my sin too much to be covered by God's mercy?
Truth In Real Life
“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
In 1904, William Borden graduated from high school – the whole world at his fingertips. Born as the heir to a massive family fortune, Borden was a millionaire by the time he was sixteen years old. As a graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world.
As he traveled to places such as Asia and Europe, he felt a terrible burden in his heart for the people he saw. Millions around the world were dying without the Savior.
God convicted his heart during this trip, and he wrote his parents a letter that said, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” About this same time he also wrote in his Bible these two words – “No reserves.” He planned to hold nothing back.
Borden came home to the United States and attended college at Yale University. While there, he started a small prayer group that grew into a group of 1,000 students before he finished at Yale. He was known for making an effort to reach out to some of the hardest and meanest students in the school. He wanted to see Jesus Christ save them.
The plan that began to formulate in Borden’s mind was to go to China as a missionary worker. People told him he was foolish to throw away his life as a millionaire, but he believed better. Following his college graduation, he turned down high-paying job opportunities and wrote two more words in his Bible – “No retreats.” He would not hide from God’s drawing and calling on his life.
On December 17, 1912, Borden finally left for the next step in his missionary preparation: Language study in Egypt. Soon after his arrival in Egypt, however, he contracted spinal meningitis and became deathly ill. Within one month, he was dead. His friends and acquaintances back home and around the world lamented the tragedy and declared it such a “waste” of life.
But William Borden, who had once said, “Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time” would not have agreed with the popular opinion about his tragic death. When his family members recovered his Bible, they found two more words added to the first four. At the time of his death, it read: “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
If you were to die today, would you have regrets about the way you spent your time and other resources? What does God consider a “waste”? Are you living your life with a long, eternal view of what is most valuable, or are you listening too much to what the world says about what’s most important?
Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.