Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." A Scripture I have used countless times, mostly at funerals. I usually list all the reasons why the deaths of believers are precious. Today, in my QT, I "got it" for the first time. Now all of you who are reading this with a big "duh" please have patience. I'm not the sharpest crayola in the box.
As I read Psalm 116 this morning I was struck by the seeming incongruence of verse 15. It seemed totally out of place. In the midst of David saying, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation....I shall pay my vows...," up pops this verse. Then David returns to talking of how he will worship the Lord. What on earth does "precious death" have to do with "paying vows," etc.?
Thanks to John Calvin (actually a footnote in Calvin by Hammond) I learned. Then I went back and read the whole Psalm. The context is vv. 1-11. To say that it was a moment of worship for me is an understatement.
Here is what Hammond said: "For their death to be precious is, in effect, no more than that it is, so considered, rated at so high a price by God, as that he will not easily grant it to any one that most desires it of him. Absalom here hostilely pursued David and desired his death, he would have been highly gratified with it, taking it for the greatest boon that could have befallen him: but God would not thus gratify him; nor will he grant this desire easily to the enemies of godly men, especially of those that commit themselves to his keeping, as David here did.”
Absalom wanted David's death but it was too precious to God for Him to allow it. Satan wants the death of every believer and God may one day allow him to kill us. But until that time our deaths are so precious to God that Satan cannot have that prize. In fact, until God is ready to usher us into His presence through "precious death," no one nor anything can take our lives from us.
Oh, my goodness, how the folks in my church who are facing terminal illness need to know the truth and comfort of that. How those I know (and those I don't know) who are facing the threat of death for their faith around the world need to be reassured by that. Our deaths are not only precious to God at the time they occur. They are precious to Him UNTIL that time and He guards them with His sovereign love. Be encouraged, believers.