Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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What a way to die!

Meditation for the week of June 10, 2012

He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. (2 Chronicles 21:20)

Recently a young missionary family lost their lives in an airplane accident in Zambia.  The pilot’s wife happened to be with him on the trip where he had the accident.  They hadn’t been in that country very long, but the hospital where they served has been there a long time.  When this young couple died the President of Zambia declared a national day of mourning with flags flown at half staff.  All programs designed to entertain were canceled or postponed.  About 2000 people attended the simple funeral and burial.  The funeral was a testimony to the love and respect that the people of Zambia had for this couple.

In contrast, Jehoram, an old testament king of Judah, died to no one’s regret or sorrow.  I am sure there were people at his funeral, but apparently he was one person that this earth was better off without.   He had been king of Judah and he had been “boss” but He had turned his back on His God.  God as well as his subjects had turned their backs on him when he died. No one was really grieved at his passing. 

In the old testament, the emphasis is on this life.  Eternity is not the main theme of the old testament even though resurrection and eternal values are found there.  The way Jehoram was buried reflected God’s rejection of this king.  What must eternity be like for him?  We have what happens after death unfolded for us in the new testament.  While Jehoram lived for time, he exists for eternity; and he is no doubt now wishing he had worshiped the “God of his fathers” rather than rebelling against Him. 

But to die and not have any one care, that would seem to be such a futile wasted life.  We certainly are put here for some reason, and even those who do not believe in a god of any kind still usually believe in community.  They realize that the command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” is a necessary part of  any society that is going to endure.  Jehoram loved himself and his idols, and he violated this most important principle.  He was a wicked man, killing his own brothers as well as some of the princes of Israel.

Many people want to celebrate the lives they have lived at their deaths rather than have their family and friends face the grim reality that death is the result of sin.  Our bodies are embalmed and “fixed” so that we look happy and even alive.  We do not witness the actual burial.  We do everything we can to pretend that death is not real.  But death is real and so is eternity. 

Yes, the believer in Christ can rejoice that death is not the end but just the beginning of a glorious future with Christ.  But death is a time for mourning and if no one feels an emptiness or a big hole in their life when their close family members and friends die, something is wrong.  Or worse, a person may be so evil that people may be glad when he dies.  Expressing grief in some way only shows honor and love for the person who has died.

I hope that the Lord returns before I die.  But if there should be a funeral in my future, I hope that some who come to my funeral shed a few tears.  Then after the tears are shed, I hope that they will rejoice in the fact that because of the promise that Christ died for my sins and because I believe God when He said that, my future too will be glorious.

It would be terrible to die “to no one’s sorrow.”

Bruce Collins


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