We all want a death with dignity, right? None of us wants to suffer too long. None of us wants to be helpless. Death with dignity just sounds right.
Or does it? That whole "death with dignity" thing has been used to excuse 341 murders in the state of Oregon in the last decade, 49 last year alone. And worldwide, the number skyrockets. They use terms like mercy killing, euthanasia (which literally means "good death"), and physician assisted suicide. God has another term for those things: murder...sin.
You see, this thing called life is not something we have the right to take. That's what our text tells us today.
"There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand."
For the next three weeks we'll be talking about how we view our life, specifically when it comes to thinking about death. And our text this week really drives home the truth that it isn't ours to control. It is God's. And we say, "Amen" to that, don't we? "Yes, God, you are in control." Right?
Until we remember that thing called worry, which is really us saying God isn't really in control. And then we think of the thoughts we have when it comes to death, and we figure we know better than God when we or our loved ones should die. In Sunday morning Bible study, we're looking at God's word for all of those questions of pulling the plug and feeding tubes, and DNR orders, and it really boils down to one thing: God is in control.
He couldn't be any clearer than he is in our text. He gave us life, and he controls death. He even takes credit for being the one who wounds and the one who heals. Everything God allows in our life: joy or pain, health or death - all of it is for our good.
Because, you see, God has promised to heal. And he has. For all of our sins of putting our wants and our thoughts above God, he did heal. Jesus took on a death that had absolutely nothing of dignity in it. Death never does, because it is the result of sin.
But, Jesus removed sin from our death by suffering for it all in his. He was stripped of all honor and even his clothes, as they cast lots for his garments. He was whipped and beaten and abused, allowing those sinners to direct where he went and bystanders to hurl insults. Jesus went through the disgrace of death to give us actual dignity. He gave us the dignity that comes with our names as God's children. He gave us the dignity of an invitation to the banquet of heaven. He has won for us the dignity of an eternity of honor and respect and perfection.
Yes, it makes sense for us to rejoice that our lives are the Lord's.
Come next week and let's celebrate that truth together. Amen.