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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - July 26, 2007

  • 2007 Jul 26
  • COMMENTS
 

David: Ending Well by—Fearing No Evil

Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

 

Please open with me to Ecclesiastes 12.

 

When God describes what happens as we age, he calls it difficult times or even “evil” days. Old age can become a time when life is hardest, strength is least, and evil is most pressing—but that is not how it has to be! David shows us by his life that ending well by fearing no evil is possible through our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ.

 

Life is short, time flies, death is inescapable—but without Christ life becomes a wearying chase for something good enough to keep their mind’s off thinking this all may be over soon.

 

In God's Word the Bible, two old men sat down and wrote their summary of life.

One was the father, the other his son.

 

Both wrote under the inspiration of God’s Spirit.

Both had suffered through many afflictions.

Both knew the Lord in an unusual way.

 

For one life is looked back upon almost bitterly, speaking of the emptiness or vanity of life.

His name was Solomon.

His summary is a Book called Ecclesiastes.

 

The other looks back and sees a life long growth in experiencing God. His name was David, father of Solomon. His summary was still the song he wrote to his Good Shepherd called Psalm 23.

 

When life winds down, strength gets exhausted, and the end is in sight for you--which summary will fit your life?

 

·        Will you look back on life like Solomon? Ending with bitterness, seeing all as vanity, and ending in emptiness?

·        Or will you look back on life like David? Ending well by fearing no evil, in hopefulness, with life long growth in experiencing God?

 

The choice is completely yours this morning--you are each day writing the script that will be your life’s summary!

 

The key is who you are following, where are you headed, and whether or not you have started down the right path.

 

God’s desire is that you know Him; He wants you to start early and remember your Creator when you are young—and then never forget Him.

 

As a youth, David remembered His Creator. In fact I believe that’s why a weary and exhausted Solomon—who had chased every pleasure the human mind could conceive, came to the conclusion that his dad was right.

 

Solomon, perhaps too late, realized that the only way to live and the best way to die--is to do so reflecting on the plans that God had for us in the first place.

 

Solomon found out after his restless pursuit of all the world had to offer--that nothing but God satisfies, and that life and death can be quite empty when God is left out.

 

Do you remember Solomon’s inspired look at the pains, fears, and troubles of old age? Ecclesiastes 12 is a remarkable portrait of what we have to face someday. It is not a nice picture when life is empty and meaningless; but it is the best and most exciting time imaginable when life is full of God.

 

Please follow along with me in Ecclesiastes noting the regret filled wisdom of an empty life, as Solomon the wisest man who ever lived--remembers what he foolishly neglected.

 

Stand as we read Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 (NKJV)

 

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult [“evil” in KJV, NAS] days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: 2 While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain;

 

3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, [probably legs]

And the strong men bow down; [probably shoulders]

When the grinders cease because they are few, [teeth]

And those that look through the windows grow dim; [eyes]

4 When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; [probably hearing loss]

When one rises up at the sound of a bird, [sleeping difficulties]

And all the daughters of music are brought low; 5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; [growing fears]

When the almond tree blossoms, [white hair]

The grasshopper is a burden, [weakness]

And desire fails. [appetites gone]

For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets. [death]

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, [nerve problems]

Or the golden bowl is broken, [brain problems]

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, [lung problems]

Or the wheel broken at the well. [heart problems]

 

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.” 9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs.10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

 

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

 

PRAY

 

When life winds down, strength gets exhausted, and the end is in sight for you--which summary will fit your life?

 

·        Will you look back on life like Solomon? Ending with bitterness, seeing all as vanity, and ending in emptiness?

·        Or will you look back on life like David? Ending well by fearing no evil, in hopefulness, with life long growth in experiencing God?

 

David ended well and feared no evil because he remembered his Creator.

 

He sang to Him from many quiet and remote hillsides as he sat under the glistening stars. One of David’s songs is perhaps the most well known song in the world. We call it the 23rd Song or Psalm. But it may really have been David’s 1st song. It is certainly his most beloved song.

 

FEARING NO EVIL

 

Though he was but a youth the content of Psalm 23 is so profound. David pictures life as a long walk behind a Good Shepherd heading to spend the night with the shepherd, in His house, safe and secure.

 

Life is walking behind the Shepherd, the end of life is secured by the Shepherd, and eternity is spent with the Shepherd.

 

Now turn again to the fourth verse of Psalm 23 and see the truth lived out by David as he breathes his last.

 

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil; For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

David had remembered His Creator in the days of his youth—and he reaped a harvest of promised blessing.

 

For any young person listening today, David is a model of how to please God when young. He is also a great example of the benefits of right choices as a youth. But whether young or not, the truth remains that David ended well fearing no evil. And Psalm 23:5-6 explains how David was so secure, so serene and so blessed.

 

Death to David was not an unknown, it was not a mystery—it was an appointment. As we look at David’s final recorded moments is that David sees death as an appointment with his Good Shepherd, who we know is Jesus.

 

Even the greatest enemy—death, was disarmed before David. He could dine (a wonderful picture of his fellowship with the Lord) even in the presence of death, the end of all we know of this earthly part of life.

 

Psalm 23:5-6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

 

David had reservations in Heaven.

 

Heaven was where his God lived; Heaven was a place God prepared for him and he was following his guide through life into the valley, through the shadows and safely home,

 

Many times over the years I have stood at bedsides in hospitals, emergency rooms, and hospice arranged homes—and shared these same words.

 

Death is an appointment for all who know Jesus, with their Good Shepherd.

 

Jesus comes to take us through the valley of death’s shadow.

 

We have an appointment already set by Him (Hebrews 9:27) and neither we nor He shall ever be early or late.

 

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

 

When a loved one dies whether we make it there in time or not—the Good Shepherd always makes it. He arrives exactly on time and takes His beloved by the hand and walks them safely home.

 

This sermon is continued tomorrow July 27. We will be looking at “The Fear of Death is Destroyed, How to End Well by Fearing No Evil, and Make a Choice to End Well by Fearing No Evil.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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