David: Ending Well by—Heading Towards Home

Psalm 23:6

 

 

 

 

David ended well because his whole life was built around heading towards his eternal home.

 

I would like to begin this evening where every verse in the Bible ends—with Jesus Christ. God's Word ends with Jesus inviting us to join Him in Heaven.

 

Revelation 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

His voice can be heard--from Creation, as He spoke all things into existence (Colossians 1)--to the end of Revelation, where He delivers back the Universe to God the Father (John 19)—because Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is the subject and the theme of the Bible, just as He said in John 5:39.

 

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

 

Whenever you read God's Word always remember that the writers of the Bible were listening to the Spirit of Christ that was in them.

 

1 Peter 1:11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

 

So from cover to cover Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

 

John 10:11-14 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

 

Jacob confessed that the Lord was his Shepherd and that was his only hope as he died.

 

Genesis 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, NASB

 

David started as a boy singing about his Shepherd; he remembered that hope through all his hard days—and in the end he never took his eyes off from the home with Jesus he believed was his. So David followed his Shepherd through life and then as the night began to fall—he went home with Him to dwell in His House.

 

Psalm 23:6 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 began to follow Christ's voice early in life. Jesus said that His sheep recognize His voice.

 

John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

 

Though he was but a youth, 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.

 

As we turn to Hebrews 11 this evening, we need to be sure that our life is pointed in the right direction and that we are truly heading towards our home. This is so beautifully explained in Hebrews and that is where we are going to read this evening.

 

Hebrews 11:1-16 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. NKJV

 

This morning we saw from David’s life that the way to die was looking forward to Heaven—that is also the best way to live.

 

 

How to Live: Looking Forward to Heaven

 

It is appointed … to die once, but after this the judgment.

—Hebrews 9:27, emphasis added

 

None of us knows the exact date of our appointment with Jesus Christ to take us home to heaven, but we do know that what lies ahead is far superior to anything we could ever envision. Even now Jesus is preparing a mansion for us so that we can be with Him (John 14:2). What will it be like there?

 

Heaven will be a joyous and satisfying place! The joy of heaven’s inhabitants is pictured by the scenes of praise in the book of Revelation, the white-robed conquerors waving palm branches (Revelation 7:9), and the guests at a wedding supper (Revelation 19:1–9). This is buttressed by the imagery of some of Jesus’ parables where attaining heaven was compared to attending a banquet (Luke 14:15–24) or entering into the joy of one’s Master (Matthew 25:21, 23).

 

From the perspective of life in this world, heaven is the object of human longing and the goal of human existence. The book of Hebrews employs the imagery of quest to express this reality: “These all died in faith, not having received what was promised. … For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland” (see Hebrews 11:13–14).

 

In addition to being the goal of a quest, heaven is the reward for earthly toil, as in Paul’s picture of himself as having “finished the race” and looking forward to “the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). We see this imagery again in Peter’s vision of “the chief Shepherd” conferring “the unfading crown of glory” on those who have served faithfully (1 Peter 5:4). There is also the glorious picture of believers having come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God” where thousands upon thousands of angels are in joyful assembly (Hebrews 12:22 NIV).

 

Images of satisfaction emerge from the pictures in Revelation of saints being guided by a divine Shepherd to springs of living water (Revelation 7:17), and having access to “the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month” (see Revelation 22:2).

 

Heaven is also portrayed as a rest after labor: those who die in the Lord rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them (see Revelation 14:13). Similarly, “there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God,” which believers strive to enter (see Hebrews 4:9–11).

 

JESUS IS THE SON OF DAVID

 

David came to this hope by trusting and following the Good Shepherd. One of the first things we notice when we open to the New Testament is that Matthew 1:1 opens with a reference to David our subject of study for these many months.

 

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

The “Son of David” later (Matthew 1:21), named Jesus--is Christ's introduction in Matthew, which opens our New Testament. The parallels between David’s life and the Son of David—Christ the Lord’s life, are very striking.

We have often noted Christ's last words were David’s (Psalm 31:5 and Luke 23:46).

 

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

 

Psalm 31:5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

 

And that Son of David who came to die for us uses the words of David as He prepared to die in our place. At the end of his life David said in 2 Samuel 22:5-6:

 

‘When the waves of death surrounded me, The floods of ungodliness made me afraid. 6 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.

 

Those very words are what Christ Jesus used in the description of His pathway to death in our place.

 

Matthew 26:38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

 

But, the lessons from Christ's death do not stop there. Many of us miss a wonderful insight the Gospels capture. We actually know the last song that Jesus is recorded as having sung in preparation for His death. If you ever want to learn how to face death in a practical way—note the content, the lyrics of the songs that Jesus used as He marched to the Cross.

 

WHAT DID JESUS SING AS HE FACED DEATH?

 

First look at the Psalm songs mentioned in the Gospels by Matthew and Mark.

 

·      Matthew 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

·      Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

This translates one Greek word which means, literally, “hymning.” But since this was the Seder, we can know the hymn being sung must have been one of the Hallel or (“praise”) Psalms recited at festivals, Psalms 113–118 or 136[1].

 

Throughout the Last Supper Passover Seder, God's Word tells us that Jesus must have led the disciples in singing the seven Psalms (113-118 and 136) which the Jews of Christ's day called the Halell which in Hebrew means “Praise God”.

 

Traditionally Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal and the rest afterward. At different points of the Passover Feast these psalms were sung in sections; and at the very end there was sung The Great Hallel, which is Psalm 136. That was the hymn they sang before they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

At Passover seven Psalms were sung in praise called the Halell. The fourth of the Hallel Psalms, or the middle of the seven (which is the place of importance in the Hebrew mind when listing seven items) is Psalm 116.

 

During the evening we know that they sang all seven. So one thing we know is, that they heard Jesus lead them in the middle one; the one that structurally is emphasized.

 

So instead of going through them all, we will just focus on that middle Psalm, the 116th Psalm.

 

Ending well, fearing no evil means that we die gracefully—and no one died more gracefully than Jesus. What makes this insight about preparing to die even more special is that Jesus Christ Himself sang and filled with ultimate meaning to His very own disciples. That makes these words and truths even more powerful to us.

 

This word for ”singing” describing what Jesus and His disciples did as they headed out and began walking to Gethsemane--is the same word that Paul uses for singing from the depths of the jail in Philippi.

 

Matthew 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

 

Hebrews 2:12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

 

Jesus sang as he walked to the cross, Paul and Silas sang as they suffered for the cross and Hebrews 2:12 says that Christ is present as we sing celebrating His death for us on the cross.

 

This sermon will conclude tomorrow July 29th when we will look at Dying Gracefully Psalm 116.



[1] The Jewish New Testament Commentary, (Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications) 1996.

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