Saturday, August 9, 2008

What is Better than Life?

David writes in Psalm 63:3 the following:

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You. (NASB)

Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you. (ESV)

How many commercials do you see every week on television from investment/financial planning companies telling you how good your life can be if you will only use their company in planning for retirement. You will have the "good life." After all, isn't that what life is all about - preparing for your retirement, retiring early, enjoying the fruit of you labors - the good things in life? Well, David gives us a different perspective of life.

While it can be said that David struggled with many things in life, it could also be said that he had a good life. He was the king of a nation and probably did not lack any good thing with respect to the physical aspects of life. But, David tells us here something that is better than the good things of life, in fact, it is better than life. It is the steadfast love of God. John Piper often points out that today some Christians value the gifts of God more than they do God Himself. We see it in our American Culture today where entire theologies are built on the ideas of health, wealth, and prosperity. These things are used to move people to God. Do we treasure God more than His good gifts? Do we treasure God more than life itself?

I think of all the Christians down through the ages who actually had to make a decision between their physical life and the promises of God in his steadfast love. I have a book, published in 2001, that details the deaths of Christian martyrs beginning with Old Testament prophets up to the present. It is 956 pages long and without a doubt not complete. But the point is that many of our brothers and sisters down through the ages have actually had to decide if the steadfast love of God was better than life. Those mentioned in this book said yes it is.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 13:45-46 the following:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." (NASB)

You must ask yourself if God is your treasure worth more than all you have? Is He your pearl worth more than all you have? Is His steadfast love and precious and magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:4) better than your physical life on this earth? Many Christians down through the ages have answered yes to this question. Many Christians today say yes. What is your answer?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB)

Martin Luther also thought of this question and he gives us his answer in his hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

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