Reading through the Bible together
Heman the Ezrahite, is filled with terror at the thought of dying. He feels totally alone, with no human companion to support him (vs. 8 and 18). Perhaps he remembers how the earth swallowed up his ancestor Korah when he rebelled against God (Num.16). He cries out, “I am reckoned among those who go down to the Pit (v. 4). He feels the desperation of someone buried alive amid dead bodies. Coupled with this fear is the horror of God’s wrath (v. 16).
In these desperate words we feel the suffering of Jesus on the cross when He endured the wrath of God against transgression and cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” For a time Jesus “could not see through the portals of the tomb” and felt He was giving His life for all eternity for a race of rebels. Jesus also was forsaken by all his friends in his last agonies on the cross.
Heman is desperate to praise God again in the land of the living, as he reminds His Maker that “the dead do not praise the Lord nor any that go down into silence.” In his unmitigated fear, he needs to remember that God is “merciful and gracious” and that His anger lasts but a short time.
All those who feel panic when death draws near, need to remember that we can by faith accept the assurance of our salvation. “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2).
Prayer: Lord, I do not want to wait until I am dying to be right with You. Thank You for Your great salvation, and for the assurance that You have forgiven my sins and clothed me with the garment of Your righteousness.
Retired Professor of Religion