A meditation: The utter helplessness and hopefulness of death

I awake, and I am still with you. — Psalm 139:18b

I can’t do any better than this post from Tyler Kenney at the wonderful Fighter Verses blog. I share it in full here, but I would hope that you visit there, bookmark it, subscribe to it and learn to love the Word of God:

David’s words about waking up to God remind us of that day when we, like all flesh, will be tucked one last time into our earthly beds, returned to rest in the dust from which we came until the day of resurrection.

In his poem, “The Naked Seed,” C. S. Lewis considers our utter helplessness in death but also the hope that waits for those who have God’s Spirit:

My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run
With longing, are in me
Dried up. In all my countryside there is not one
That drips to find the sea.
I have no care for anything thy love can grant
Except the moment’s vain
And hardly noticed filling of the moment’s want
And to be free from pain.
Oh, thou that art unwearying, that dost neither sleep
Nor slumber, who didst take
All care for Lazarus in the careless tomb, oh keep
Watch for me till I wake.
If thou think for me what I cannot think, if thou
Desire for me what I
Cannot desire, my soul’s interior Form, though now
Deep-buried, will not die,
— No more than the insensible dropp’d seed which grows
Through winter ripe for birth
Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws
Sweet influence still on earth,
— Because the heaven, moved moth-like by thy beauty, goes
Still turning round the earth.

The best news: What can you learn from a lying, murdering, rapist?

A lot about what it means to have a tender heart for God. Consider David in Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

What has led David to this lowly state of remorse? Turn back to 2 Samuel 11:2-5 to see where it started:

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. . . . Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

And not only does David do this, he compounds his sin by bring Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, back from battle so he can sleep with his wife and thus cover up David’s sin. It doesn’t work and so David has Uriah killed in battle. It is only when the prophet Nathan confronts him that David repents.

And what is God’s response? “The Lord has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” (2 Kings 12:13). From here, John Piper picks up the story and why it matters that we should care why God answers in this way:

And, Piper goes on to show that David’s response to his sin is a good example for us to follow. Piper lays out four ways in his sermon, “A Broken and Contrite Heart God Will Not Despise.”