DayBreaks for 3/06/18: Dying the Death of the Righteous
NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
Do you remember Balaam from the book of Numbers in the Old Testament? Numbers 22-25 tells us that he was the prophet that was brought in by Barak, the king of Moab to put a curse on the Israelites as they began their move into the Promised Land. Balaam found himself in an interesting predicament: the man who hired him wanted him to curse Israel, but when Balaam opened his mouth, out came blessings instead! This made him unpopular with his “boss”. It happened not once or twice, but four times! (According to the Word, Balaam also appears to have been the only person who ever understood donkey language, too!) Finally, when it became clear that Balaam couldn’t curse Israel, he persuaded Balak to use the women of Moab to put sexual temptation in front of Israel so that Israel would lose favor with God and fail.
The last part of one verse in particular is very interesting, from Numbers 23.10 (Balaam speaking): “…let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Balaam wanted to die the death of the righteous, to be found in favor with God and pleasing to him. But, Numbers 31.8 tells us that it didn’t happen that way. In fact, the children of Israel killed Balaam with the sword for what he’d done.
What makes this interesting is that many people want to die the death of the righteous without having first lived the life of the righteous. Here Balaam was, trying to curse Israel, then suggesting involving them in sexual sin, crying out that he wanted to be counted as a righteous man when he died – to be able to die with the peace and calmness of spirit that possesses a righteous man when faced with his Maker. Balaam seemed to miss the connection between living as a righteous man and being able to die as a righteous man.
When we step out of this fleshly tent of the human body to enter into eternity, I’m sure that we all want to die the death of the righteous. We simply can’t do that unless we have lived the life of the righteous first. But there is a problem – we aren’t righteous. The writer to the Romans describes the problem and the solution in one tightly written passage, Romans 3.21-24: But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Want to die the death of the righteous? Then be sure that you are about the business of living the life of the righteous – in Christ!!
PRAYER: Help us live with and for You, so that when we die, we may be forever with You, dying in peace, awakening with our Maker and Friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.