The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Have you ever been in a real “life or death” situation? If you have to think about that question, then you’re probably like me and haven’t experienced a situation that was truly “life or death.”
Then there are those of you whose minds immediately jump to that moment you received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis or saw your life flash before your eyes in the moments following a horrific car accident. Do you feel a desire to live helped you through those situations? I only ask because I hear people talk that way about someone who’s struggling through a life or death situation. “Boy, she sure is a fighter!” “You can tell, he just wants to live!”
But whether or not you’ve experienced something “life or death,” I’m guessing you’d rather not think about your own death. Might that have something to do with your will to live?
The author of Psalm 118 says “I will not die but live!” If you rip that passage out of context your mind might jump to someone battling stage 4 cancer or clinging to life support in an ICU. That would miss the point.
We’re not told who wrote this Psalm, but this much I promise you. Whoever wrote it, is dead. If the Psalm writer’s “I will not die but live!” was nothing more than a rally cry to strive for a few more days of life on this earth then this phrase is worthless. We’re all going to die. The real question is what happens when I do finally die? This Psalm writer knew. He knew exactly what would happen when he eventually died. In fact, that’s why he was so willing to consider his earthly death the beginning of life!
Looking forward to digging into this Psalm with you on Sunday!