DAVID’S APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH
By Tom Moore
“And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment” (Heb. 9:27). That one time appointment with death faces all of us. We cannot cancel it and we cannot show up late. Once in a while, before it is upon us, we need to talk about it. We are now come in the life David to that point where he is facing his onetime appointment with death. He is now an old man and has seen much in his life. He has been at the top and at the bottom, the beginning – and now, at the end. We have seen him face life, now we will see him face death.
In 1 Chronicles 28 we find two special points concerning the way that David faced death – aspects we can admire and strive for ourselves. In 1 Chronicles 28:1 we find David participating in what was probably his final act as king. What a meeting this must have been – all of the leaders, from the King on down – some perhaps, up in years David now, will rise from his bed and and give instruction (1 Chr. 28:2-3). The building of the temple was David’s great ambition in life, but God told him NO (1 Chr. 28:3). Now, what did David do in the face of a life ambition that was frustrated because it was not the will of God? Did he complain? Did he resign his post? Did he die bitter? NO. As a matter of fact, he gave himself even more fully to serving the Lord and His will in the areas where God said “YES.”
As David faced death he was aware of the unique opportunity a dying person has in influencing people for good. David is speaking to the people of Israel some of his very last words. And notice they were not words of frustration or disappointment. They were words of encouragement for others to serve God. David isn’t focused on himself – he is focused on the needs of others (1 Chr. 28:8). When a man speaks from his deathbed, people listen. They know what he says will be important. This idea of people, perhaps family and friends, gathered around a dying loved one, listening to his last words is something that is largely lost in our day – and probably to our detriment. I would hope that, if the circumstances preceding my own death allow it, I could say a few words to those with whom I have shared life. And I would hope my words would be similar to those of David. Go back and read the dying words of men like Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua. Each of them charged those they were leaving behind to serve God with all their heart. Coming from the words of a dying man, these words carried much weight and influence.
As David was about to die he was determined to pass the torch of service to the one who would take his place. “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever” (1 Chr. 28:9). What tremendous words to pass on to a son! The aged, battled scarred king, veteran of many battles of life, gives last minute words of instruction to his young, inexperienced son. Do you think Solomon remembered those words? Those are the kind of words that are remembered for a lifetime.
Now notice, though David was not allowed to build the temple, he had not given up hope that it would be built. In 1 Chronicles 28:10-11, 20 you can almost see David and Solomon laying on the floor, looking at the plans of the temple and discussing what needs to be done. Too many people are obsessed only with themselves as they near the end of life. They become depressed and irritable, and they miss a golden opportunity. Well, the whole thing was very moving to Israel. So moving that they took up an offering to be sure that the temple project that Solomon was inheriting would be successful (1 Chr. 29:6-9, 21-25). And then, perhaps in a matter of days or weeks, the end came for David (1 Chr. 29:26-28).
When our time of death draws near, will we be found in bitterness or contentment? Will we be thinking of ourselves, or others? Will we use this once in a lifetime opportunity to influence people in the strait and narrow path? A final question that must be asked, “Will we be ready for death?” Will God say, “Depart from me you wicked servant?” Or, will He say, “Enter into the joys of the Lord?”
Think About It!
Have A Great Day!
Park Heights church of Christ
P. O. Box 107
1300 East Boynton Street
Hamilton, Texas 76531
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”