January 19, 2014
Boldly Facing Death
By Chuck and Sharon Betters
Faith Principle #2: Biblical faith produces right worship.
By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:1-16
Several years after Mark’s death, God seared into our souls a vivid image of the privilege of corporate worship within our covenant community (i.e., our circle of believing Christian friends) as described in Hebrews 10:25:
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
God gave our church the gift of thirty-seven-year-old David Saadeh, a man who had an indescribable thirst for intimacy with Christ and a longing to encourage others. We grieved with his family when they learned he had terminal brain cancer. Although David mourned the fact that he would soon say goodbye to his wife and young children, his visitors always left his presence feeling more connected to heaven.
Near death, blind, unable to stand and barely able to move his arms, David insisted on sitting in his wheelchair near the front of the church for worship. One Sunday w began to sing the following words:
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will road
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand;
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.
Our friend’s impending death made us keenly aware of the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us (Hebrews 12:1). We were weeping freely as we contemplated the day we would join all of heaven in praise to our God, when, out of the corner of our eyes, we saw movement. David was struggling to rise form his wheelchair so that he could stand and lift his arms toward heaven. He told his wife, “I can’t sing this song sitting down. I must stand up.” Others began to weep as they realized his once healthy body would not obey. Seeing his struggle and knowing his determined heart, a man on either side of him – one an elder, the other David’s doctor – helped David to stand, raising his arms for him so that he could freely worship his God. In tears, the rest of the congregation rose to its feet. We sang with one voice and heart while the music swelled in loud continuous praise to God for His promises.
Like Aaron and Hur who held up Moses’ arms (Exodus 17:8 – 13), these two men strengthened David in his feebleness and helped him display his absolute devotion to God. Members of the Body were able to encourage one another with God’s trust as together they anticipated David’s “Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25) and witnessed a picture of our hope that special Sabbath.
That day, the church, the Body of Christ, reflected heartfelt worship overflowing with encouragement. David, our friend and brother, died just a few weeks later. His memorial service as an exclamation point for his earlier affirmation that the sovereign Giver of Life can be trusted, even in the face of certain death.
In His grip,
Chuck and Sharon Betters
Treasures of Faith, Living Boldly in View of God’s Promises
A verse by verse study of Hebrews 11. Each chapter includes a real life story, exposition of the scriptures, and Digging Deeper questions. For personal or small group study, a Leader’s Guide is Available as well as specially priced bundles for small group studies.