Summary: God doesn’t want us to know WHEN we’re going to die, but He stresses the fact that one day we shall (if Jesus doesn’t return first). Why does God want us to face the reality of our own mortality? Why stress that we will all die?
OPEN: A woman once told of driving with her two young boys to a funeral. She said: “I tried to prepare them by talking about burial and what we believe happens after death. The boys behaved well during the service. But at the gravesite, I discovered my explanations weren’t as thorough as I’d thought.
In a loud voice, my 4 year old asked, “Mom?”
She whispered back: “Yes,”.
In a voice filled with curiosity he said “What’s in the box?”
(Ginny Richards, Readers Digest 9/08 p. 86)
APPLY: What’s in the box?
Death can be mysterious… and somewhat scary for many people because they just don’t quite know “what’s in the box”.
Predicting the future is a popular activity for many people (especially around New Year). But throughout the year people still enjoy hearing what the future holds for them.
Folks love to read their horoscopes, play with the ouija board.
ILLUS: I recently had a young boy in my home and I overheard him as he was playing something he called “Spirit”, where he laid playing cards out on a table and used them to read “the future” of the other kids around him. I told him to put the cards away. I explained that we didn’t do things like that in our home.
Now he probably was very innocent in what he was doing.
In fact, most people who read their horoscopes don’t intend to do anything wrong.
And those who play with ouija boards just think of it as “playing a game”.
But God has ALWAYS hated and condemned those kind of practices.
And one of the reasons that God condemns it is because those inquiries about our future can eventually lead to people asking the question: “When am I going to die!”
ILLUS: My dad once consulted a psychic who was accurate in many of predictions about his future. But amongst her predictions was the declaration that he would die on such and such a date. Dad never shared that date with anyone else… but that prediction lay in back of his mind until long after the date had come and gone… and he hadn’t.
The supposed day he was going to die hung in the back of his mind for years. And though he would never say he was afraid of it that prediction influenced/controlled how he viewed his life.
I believe the knowledge of what MIGHT have been his death date was a scary thing for dad.
God doesn’t want us to be afraid of death, and so He doesn’t want us to dwell on WHEN we might die. But God DOES want us to understand that that day will come when we will die
So, this morning I’m going to predict your future.
You’re going to die!
Unless Jesus comes beforehand – one day - you and I will die.
Psalm 49:10-14 tells us:
“… all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.”
It doesn’t matter how clever you are
It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are
It doesn’t matter how many important people you know… everybody dies.
ILLUS: One man told of hitchhiking one day and a hearse stopped to pick him up. He looked in at the driver and said, ‘No thanks – I’m not going that far.’”
But he is… and so are you and I.
It’s a constant theme in Scripture:
· Ps. 89:48 “What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?”
· Job talks to God and says: “I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.” Job 30:23
· Ecclesiastes warns us - “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10
God reminds us repeatedly in Scripture that we’re going to die. (PAUSE)
But now why – if God doesn’t want us to dwell on the date of our death - why would God be so determined to remind us that we are GOING to die? Well, I’ve given this a great deal of thought, and I’ve come up with three reasons. They might not be the only reasons but they made sense to me.