God Will Swallow Up Death Forever
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2 For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners’ palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
“But God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.”
A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
5 like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
Psalm 63:5 (NIV)
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
Freud was wrong when he said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.” Compare that with Isaiah’s triumphant declaration, He will swallow death up forever!
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God;
we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride
together with the skill of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.
I have been a church organist ever since I was a sophomore in high school, and I long ago lost count of how many funerals I have played for. But I have appreciated each one. Because I find that a funeral does something to clarify my mind and impress upon me what is eternally important. Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
And because of Christ, we do not need to fear death. Now that is a remarkable truth! — one which bears thinking about and giving God thanks for all day today!
1 Corinthians 15:55-5 (NIV)
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Click HERE to listen to Handel’s rendition of these verses in The Messiah. Hillary Summers, alto and John Mark Ainsley, tenor, with The Brandemburg Consort and The Choir of King’s College Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury.