The land of the dying

Where are we? How would you describe the world?

Psalm 27 is a declaration of David about the trouble of his life, and the longing he has to escape the trouble and turmoil of his enemies. He spends his words outlining the odds against him.

Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

Yes, he was besieged, chased, and suffered hiding in caves and fighting for survival. Now, don’t mistake that David was not a successful warrior – he was! He was very successful. But he was also aware that his success was because he had a fulsome and complete confidence in the Lord.

The conclusion of Psalm 27 comes in this declaration:

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

This is not a reference to our world – the land of the living – no, indeed. We live in the land of the dying. We cannot escape that reality. Recently two friends passed away rather suddenly both in their 60’s. It has been a reminder that life is not without sudden change and not without heartache and loss. Grief marks our world.

As I’ve said before, my generation has lived in an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity. We are not used to loss and pain as some of the previous generations have been. This is not the land of the living.

This is the land of the dying.

So when David speaks of his confidence, he speaks to his confidence that he will one day be in the Kingdom of God and will be in the land of the living.

I point you to Matthew 17

17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Why did God allow the disciples to see Moses and Elijah? There are deeper answers about the law and the prophets but it also speaks to the reality of a post-earth existence. It reminds us that our world is not just about what we can see – it is about what we cannot see too!

The Lord has things in hand, He is not caught off guard, and He is not just an observer of what happens here. He is The God of the Universe and He is part of both worlds. Today we see the here now and now but one day, as David reminds us, we will be in the land of the living.

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