Summary: A biblical look at what is perhaps one of the most mysterious phenomena ever pondered by mankind; death.
**This is a sermon-not a bible study. If you would like more in-depth information on this subject or would prefer an on-line bible study, please feel free to contact me through Sermon Central.
“The Shadow of Death”
I remember when I was about nine or ten years old......after what seemed like years of pleading, I had just been given my very first bb gun. This is a very memorable occasion in any young boy’s life, and it certainly was in mine. The first day I had it, I was walking along a ditch not too far from my house. This ditch had a narrow strip of woods along each side and as I was walking, I shot at cans, dirt clods, bottles and any thing else that I could find. Well needless to say, near the end of the day, I became a fairly good shot, but I also grew extremely bored with shooting at these “easy targets.”
So as I was walking and wondering what to shoot next, I was literally stopped in my tracks by the distinctive song of a mocking bird. I looked way up at the top of a tall poplar tree and there sat the source of this music. I gazed at this beautiful bird swaying on the very tip top of that tree, then my focus was shifted to the gun in my hand. It would indeed be a challenge to hit this bird ---I mean after all, I wasn’t going to shoot at dirt clods and cans forever--this was to be the true test of my marksmanship! So, I cocked the gun, took careful aim, allowing for the drop of the bb and the wind as best I could, and I slowly squeezed the trigger.
The joyful sound of that bird’s music stopped abruptly as I saw him falling from the top of this tree, flapping aimlessly and hitting branch after branch as he fell. I got him! I said to myself in amazement. I hurried into the underbrush where he had fallen and began to look for my quarry. It didn’t take very long before I found him because he was still flapping and struggling. I picked him up and held him in my hands and I noticed a lot of blood coming from his chest. His mouth was open and he was trying desperately to breathe, but he couldn’t. My excitement soon turned to sadness as I watched helplessly as this bird that was only seconds ago singing a joyous song was now fighting for his life in the hands of the one who shot him. I lightly stroked his head and apologized to this innocent creature wishing that I had never seen him. Finally, he could take no more, he gave up his fight to live and laid limp and still in my hand.
There, in a thicket of briars, with tears in my eyes and a dead bird in my hand, I for the first time, really stopped and considered the wondrous beauty of life and the cold hard reality of death.
Today, you and I are going stop and consider the very same thing. We are going to open the scriptures together and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth about life and death;and,if we allow Him, He will give us comfort, peace, hope and even joy in the face of the most feared foe that this world has ever known: death.
The first place in the bible that mentions death is in the book of Genesis 2:15-17:
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Now we all are familiar with what happened next; Adam and Eve did in fact eat of the tree thus disobeying God and committing the first sin of the human race. Some people are kind of confused about what happened, or didn’t happen next. Remember, God told them that in the day that thou eatest of it, Thou shalt surely DIE.”
It’s a fact that neither Adam nor Eve died that day.....or did they? You see, before sin entered their lives, their days were not “numbered”. They were like the angels in the sense that they weren’t subject to death because they were made perfectly and in the image of God. But the very second they sinned.......their countdown to death began. Essentially, they BEGAN TO DIE. Now, I don’t want to spoil your next birthday but, the moment we were conceived in the womb, death began it’s advance towards us. The passing of every year, every month, day, and even second brings us closer and closer to death. It’s an unavoidable and relentless cycle, everyone that lives is in the very process of dying.