Psalm 118:17-18, “17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death”
If there was an enemy any of us would want to get rid of, most of us would say death. Death robs us of those dear to us, leaving us with such a great void. The more we also think of it, the more we all realize that we are on death row waiting for our time.
In the light of this elephant in the room, I pondered on this verse that I have read many times. In the past I have I had one way to look at it for application, today I see 3 more ways that can be an encouragement and comfort to us. .
To get us started, when David says, “I shall not die, but live,” Psalm 118:17, David was not thinking that he was immortal and could never die because Hebrews 9:27 reads “And as it is appointed for men to die once ….” There is significant abundant encouragement to pull us through this difficult life with knowing our life is hidden in Christ, Acts 17:28, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” Let me therefore give us 4 encouragements.
First encouragement: vs. 17, there is nothing in your life that can be cut short by Satan or any other means as long as the Lord gives you breath. Your life is in His hands, He gives you breath to “…declare the works of the LORD”. The Lord gave David breath to praise Him here on earth. Man’s chief End is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience.” , Thomas Watson. Paul said “For to me, to live is Christ …” Philippians 1:19. Take comfort you are in His hands and nothing can snatch you from there.
Second encouragement: Perhaps David meant to say never die meant eternal life. What a great promise, the blessed hope as we read in Titus 3:4-7, “4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” We also read in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you”. In Christ we have eternal life, the afflictions in this life cannot be compared to the weight of glory that awaits us.
Third encouragement: David may have spoken these words looking at his legacy as a man after God’s own heart and continuing to live on through his descendants until Christ was revealed years later. In Matthew 1:1, 1:20, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 20:31, 21:9,21:15 Jesus is referred to as Son of David. We desire such legacy of faith to continue from one generation to another starting with our children. It’s what we have done for the Lord that will last (live on). Paul reminds Timothy of where his faith began 2Timothy 1:5, “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also”. What would you pass on?
Forth encouragement: Vs. 18 is the most befitting reason for not dying in reference to vs. 17. It reads “18 The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death”. Even in the midst of pain, suffering, chastening, no one is in control but God. His rod of correction would not kill David but made him to rejoice, Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes”; Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives”. A father who does not chasten his son does not love him. A father’s chastening is not an aim to kill but make the children become what they were born to be. The hands that break are the hands that make, heal, restores.
When you know your father is for your joy, you know you shall not die when the chastening comes. His chastening shall make you glad when He is done with you that you may display who He is to the world. Blessings Ev