samedi 24 décembre 2011

How Long Will I Live? A Brief Case for Premature Death

I have never been a big fan of fatality. This is why I hardly accept as a rational statement, when people say: "People dies because it is their day." Today, I'll explain why I do not hold that view. This is long overdue. I had promised some times back that I'll write a post on death to my friends. To be precise, about my belief about premature death.

Let's consider my opening verse:

Psalm 39:4 NIV "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.

Psalm 39:4 KJV "LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am."

Both biblical versions of Psalm 39:4, say essentially this: 1) Life has an end; 2) The day of life have a limit, a measure. They are numbered, counted. 3) The Lord sole knows our life span and it is possible that He can reveal that to us.

In this verse of Psalm 39:4, we are not told that we will always die when our life days have been all used or come to an end. God certainly knows the length of our days, but He also knows that we can die before those days are completely used. This is what we call a premature death. It is when death comes before the full maturity of our days. How do I know that?

For first, God himself who knows the length and the amount of our days, let us know about it:

Proverb 4:10  "Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many."

But why would the Lord inspire the writer of Proverb to embrace the belief that our years of life would be longer and many if we listening to His instructions or sayings? The only reason He could possibly say this, it is because not listening to God can significantly shorten our lives. He gave life, hence He knows our limits and the length it can be lived in full. In our hands, there is no guarantee that we can make it to the fullness of our days.

You see, if you can't foresee the future events, you can't possibly prepare yourself in advance for calamity. More so if you don't have the one who have foresight of the future by your side how could you avoid accident of destiny? One of the easiest way to cut short our life and die prematurely is to engage ourselves into risky behaviors and deadly sins. For example in Psalm 55:23, we read "But You, O God, shall bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in you."

So the key for a longer life is to synchronize our life interest with that of the Creator of life, for Him alone can assure us to have a prolonged and purposeful life. This doesn't mean that if we all live with an attentive hears to God's commands that we will all live to reach the same old age. Remember that this is not the promise. The promise is that our life will reach a full age according to the already set days of our life measure. In Job 5:26, we are informed that 'You shall come to your grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn comes in in his season.' It is about 'full age' and not necessarily 'old age'.

If God purpose for me is to go to Eternal felicity by age 44, this means that is the measure of my life and days - my full age. If I am attentive and cooperative I can live a purposeful life and die at the fullness of my time - meaning age 44. If I am not cooperative, I might get unfortunate and die earlier than that. If your life span (your full age) is 98 years of age, you may still be unfortunate and meet an early death by age 21 or 31 or even 84 if you do not listen attentively to God's prescriptions for your life purpose. You might maybe remember these scriptures from Deuteronomy 30:19 warning us that those who take the wrong turn are responsible for their early death, not their destiny, “If he chooses disobedience (sin), he takes the path leading to death.”

The Bible has always surprises for us. It seems that at time, people can literally escape death, even when they have reached the set limit of their days measure. There is this story of King Hezekiah who received a reliable prophecy by the all time winner of exact prophecy - the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah was an honorable man, who had listened to God and live an correct life. Hence when the news of his death came from a reliable source - Isaiah prediction - the King prayed and asked God that He wanted to live more. He wanted to live beyond his allocated time. So he bargained with God through prayers. Can I just add this, prayer is most effective when we are living a godly life.

"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years." Isaiah 38:1-5

Interesting story. Hezekiah has cheated death because of his righteous life. Actually, a righteous living in principle do grant you the ability to reach your full appointed age on earth. However Hezekiah has showed the abundant potential of having a good life with God. You can make yourself be heard in prayers for things that was not even in store for you. As long as you have a promise and that you have the requirement, you can apply for it. That is why I don't really worry about spiritual techniques and principles preachings that are in vogue too much. I believe that If you live in harmony with God, you might just discover why St. Paul believed that 'godliness has a greater benefit than anything'. Deuteronomy 4:40, "You shall keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth, which the LORD your God give you, for ever."

So as much as it has been proven that a healthy life through exercise give you a fighting chance for a longer life, i would like to submit to you that a godly life can do as much and even more, 1Timothy 4:8 "For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

So back to my title question, 'How long will I live?' I don't know. But I know at least two things. Bodily exercise can add to a longer life but not as much as a godly life. Your life length is related to your submission and listening to God's commands, just like the Bible teaches us in many places: Ephesians 6:1-3  "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth."

This is the first commandment with a promise but it is certainly not the only one with a promise of a longer life as already seen above.

Have a Merry Christmas Day and a Happy New Year 2012 in Jesus' name.

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