Summary: A sermon based on Hosea 13:14
Garrison Keillor told the story of he time his mother and father took him to the city to visit an aunt who was lonely and alone after the death of her husband of 55 years. He describes how she looked to him at 10 years of age. Her dress was stained with food spots, her makeup was heavy on one side, her lipstick was crooked, her fake pearls did not go with her dress. She sat at the table as they ate together. The aunt began to cry. “I have nothing left to live for. I might as well die.” She kept on crying as she chewed her food. “I’ll bet that if I died tomorrow, no one would come to my funeral, not even you folks.” Garrison, seeking to be helpful at 10 years of age, said, “Oh, I’d come. I’d be glad to come to your funeral.” Reflecting on her outburst, Keillor concludes as he thinks back on that aunt: “Every tear that poor woman cried, we will cry also before we leave this world and give in to the one death we owe.”
Background of Hosea 13:14-
In the midst of all of these prophecies about the destruction of the Israelites, we have this ray of sunlight through the dark clouds. God had promised that through Israel "all the familes of the earth" should be blessed, and Hosea had been charged with the task of revealing God's purpose of destruction of the very Israel through whom the blessing of all men was promised to be brought! Did that mean that the hope of human salvation was lost? No! The ultimate victory of God over the consequences of sin would be achieved. God was not being defeated in the apostasy of Israel; it was Israel that was being defeated. God would yet achieve his purpose through the righteous remnant which would remain. Death will be defeated.
This promise is made more sure by the last phrase. NIV says compassion but this Hebrew word can also be translated as repentance. KJV- repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. God will not repent of his this promise. God will do what he said! God is not going to change his purpose of redeeming a portion of humanity from sin and from the power of the grave.
Thesis: Let talk about the agony of death, the valley of death, the pit of death, and the conquest of death
The agony of death (Acts 2:24)
“To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” Genesis 3:16, NIV. This terminology is often used when talking about the pains of death. We also see something like this in Hosea 13:13.
Woody Allen said, "I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
Most people would probably prefer to die painlessly in their sleep. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Many great Christians have died very cruel and painful deaths.
As a Christian draws closer to a possible painful death, he often wonders how he will respond to the pain and agony. He wonders if he will be able to endure the pain. He wonders if he will ruin his Christian testimony and betray his Lord by the way he responds to his pain and misery.
God promises to be with us even in our darkest hour. He doesn’t promise to eliminate the pain and misery, but He promises to be there with us and help us get through. It’s important to remember that God does not usually provide us this strength, courage, and grace until we actually need it.
“You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”” Lamentations 3:56, NIV.
The valley of death
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Psalms 23:4
Death is the greatest unknown of all; nothing else even comes close. Although the Bible has given us a partial description of what lies beyond the vale of death, we have never personally seen or experienced it. None of our acquaintances have ever died and come back to tell us about it. It is very easy to dread death and be apprehensive about it.
The thing that compounds this fear is the fact we have to face it alone. It doesn’t matter how many friends we have or how many people are with us when we die, we must still pass though the vale of death by ourselves. This can be very disturbing. We are social creatures and we don’t like to face intense adversities by ourselves.
Notice that David talks about death as a valley. Think of a mountain scene. The valley is peaceful, tranquil. There is peace in the valley.