Sunday, November 13th, 2016
Suffering (Part 48)
Untimely Death: Uriah and Lazarus
In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, 'Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.' So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
2 Samuel 11:14-17 (NKJV)
Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead.'
John 11:14 (NKJV)
Few things hurt more than the untimely death of a loved one in the prime time of life. Most of my own dearly departed kin were older, sicker and ready to go. But early exits can be heart-wrenching.
Like Bathsheba's brave husband, Uriah: a loyal and well-disciplined soldier who was set up to die by King David--in the good king's most wrong-minded moment.
Like the Messiah's close friend, Lazarus: one of the Lord's earliest believers, whose dire illness seemed to go unanswered, although Mary and Martha begged Christ's help.
Both of these heroes died untimely deaths, or so it might seem to those left behind. Uriah rose to the Lord in Heaven. Lazarus rose to His Son still on earth.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Even when a story seems over, God's realm called Eternity begins. The big question regards location. Consider some thoughts on the subject:
1. We're going one way or the other. For people who believe in Jesus (even at the moment of their deaths), a forever reunion awaits. Saints in mourning will soon be dancing.*
2. The Bible stresses preparation. Repeatedly, Jesus reaffirms: the length of our days is uncertain. We're ordered to live in readiness and be about our Father's business.**
3. Because only God knows death's schedule and the end of our time on this earth, our mandate as followers is clear: to live each day as if it's our last.
4. Since most people don't know Jesus (yet), but you can reach them through media, you have a great opportunity to be His Hands, Feet and Smile right now.
To Be Continued...
* 'Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope' (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
* The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus reveals two post-death locations. (This is a different Lazarus from Christ's close friend): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16:19-31
** The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins:
** The Parable of the Fig Tree/ No One Knows the Day or Hour:
** The Parable of The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant:
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.