Keeping Life and Death In Perspective

Title: Keeping Life and Death In Perspective

Bible Book: Job 1 : 21

Author: Paul E. Brown

Subject: Death; Funeral; Faith



One day, out of the blue, the old patriarch, Job, received the shocking news that all of his sons and daughters had been killed. Job was crushed, of course, but even in the midst of his grief he made one of the grandest confessions of faith in the Old Testament and that confession is a model for all of us. In Job 1:21 he declared: “...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I. Looking Up Even When Life Calls You To Look Down

In spite of his deep sorrow, Job kept things in perspective. Instead of dwelling exclusively on his loss, he looked on the positive side. He realized that it was by the goodness and mercy of God that those loved ones had been with him as long as they had. So, with gratitude for the years he had spent with them, Job said, “the Lord gave.”

No doubt family members and friends of _______ ______ are echoing that same sentiment: “the Lord gave” and God did, indeed, bless _______’s family and friends by allowing him to be in your midst for 60 years. You had hoped to have him with you a lot longer, of course, but how gracious God was to give him to you for those 60 years.

It has been heart-warming to me to hear various ones of you speak of how much _______ meant to you, and of what kind of person he was. From listening to family members and friends, I’ve learned that _______ was a hard worker. He loved his family, and took good care of them. He had a great sense of humor, and was always laughing and joking. He had an outgoing personality, and as the old saying goes, ”never met a stranger”. He was generous, and would help anybody who was in need. Obviously he was quite a man and his family and friends have some wonderful memories to be treasured throughout the years to come.

When you think about all of _______’s fine qualities, and what he did for so many folks, and what he meant to his family and friends, you can truly say, as Job did, “the Lord gave.”

II. Being Confident Of God’s Love Even When Life Seems Cruel

Then Job said, “and the Lord hath taken away,”--and Job didn’t make that statement with any bitterness. He was sad and hurting, of course, but it is clear that he made that statement with a quiet confidence in the Lord and with an attitude of acceptance, because Job could say, as did the author of Psalm 31:15, “My times are in thy hand....” Job knew that God is the Sovereign of life and death, and he makes no mistakes.

Apparently Job also sensed a powerful truth that was declared centuries later in 1 John 4:8, namely, that “God is love.” Love is one of God’s most defining characteristics, and that means that all of his dealings with us are in love, even when we can’t make sense of what is happening to us.

But Job also knew something else: he knew that for a believer death holds no fear, but is the gateway into the very presence of God.

I want to tell you about a blessed visit I had with _______ on [date] in his room at ________ Hospital. He was weak, but he was very alert, and spoke very clearly. After we had talked for a few minutes, I said, “_______, in light of the seriousness of your condition, wouldn’t you like to be sure that you’re right with God?”--and he said, “Yes.” I told him then of how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and of his promise that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And then I asked him, “Would you like to trust Jesus as your Savior now?”--and he said, “Yes.”

I said, “_______, if you mean it from your heart, I’m asking you to pray this prayer after me” and as I gave it to him one phrase at a time, this is what he repeated after me: “Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I’m sorry for my sins, and I repent. Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.” After he had prayed that aloud, I said, “________, did you mean that from your heart?” and he said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, in light of that, you can now claim the promise that Jesus made in John 6:47: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” I also told him of God’s great promise to believers in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” I said, “That means that God is going to be with you every moment, day and night, whatever happens--and when it’s your time to go, you’re going to be with him.”

So, ________ has left us. But, knowing that God makes no mistakes in his timing or in anything else, and rejoicing in the knowledge that ________ surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ,

________’s family and friends can say, with confidence and acceptance, just as Job said: “the Lord hath taken away.”

III. Claiming God’s Victory Even When The World Might View It As Defeat

Finally, Job said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In spite of his sorrow, Job evidenced a spirit of victory.

He had victory because he realized that his life was richer for having had his loved ones with him as long as he had them. In like manner, the lives of ________ ______’s family and friends are richer because of the privilege of having had him in your midst for 60 years.

Further, Job had a spirit of victory because, as already mentioned, he knew that believers have a great future beyond the grave. Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:8, that to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.” Sometimes one sees in a store window a sign reading, “Gone out of business.” At other times we see a sign reading, “Moved to new location.” Well, ________ _______ has not gone out of business; he has simply moved to a new location--and it’s a location more wonderful than anywhere he’s ever been before.

Moreover, Job had victory because he knew that God’s grace would see him through his sorrow. 2 Corinthians 1:3 speaks of our Lord as “the God of all comfort.” To everyone who is touched by

________ ’s departure from this earthly life, Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Let me close by reminding us that Hebrews 9:27 says, “ is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” If anyone present here today has never repented of your sins and by faith surrendered your life to Jesus, accepting him as your personal Lord and Savior, I urge you to settle that all-important issue, and to settle it now. 1 Samuel 20:3 says: “ the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”

If you are a Christian, right now would be a good time to confess any sins that have crept into your life, and to make any new beginnings that are needed. May God help us, one and all, to go from this place determined to make Jesus Christ the absolute center of our lives.

Let me tell you how you can honor the memory of ________ ______. I only knew ________ for a few months, but that was long enough to realize that he said what he meant, and meant what he said-- and I believe that he meant it when he said that from his heart he had trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. That being the case, I believe that had he lived and regained his strength he would have made a public profession of his faith, and would have been in church every Sunday.

But he didn’t get to do that, because the Lord called him home. I challenge you, if you’ve never done so, to surrender your life to Christ, just as ________ did and then I challenge you to take up where

________ left off. Be in church this coming Sunday. Publicly profess your faith in Christ, and get busy serving him and growing spiritually. You’ll be glad that you did.

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