Three Reasons the Saint’s Death is Precious in the Sight of the Lord

When a saint’s mortal life ends, they are gathered to their people. Their soul is engulfed in the perfect love of beloved friends and family who all died clinging to Christ in faith. Mystery of mysteries: though bodiless, they were recognizable to the patriarchs and will be for us as well. But the saints will not only recognize “their people” loved and lost and now reunited. They will recognize him whom they have only seen through the eyes of faith.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

What is precious to you? If your house caught fire, what would you brave the flames to save? Your spouse and children, of course. Maybe a beloved pet, family photo, or treasured heirloom? That word, “precious,” is used throughout the Old Testament to describe costly jewels like the one upon the brow of David’s crown (2 Samuel 12:30). David employed the same word in Psalm 116:15 to describe God’s valuation of the death of a Christian: “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints.” But how can that be? The Bible calls death “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) and “the last enemy to be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death is so tragic that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. How then can death be precious in God’s sight?

We must be careful to note that the Psalmist is not speaking about death generally. “As I live, declares the Lord GOD,” in Ezekiel 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” David is speaking exclusively of the death of saints. What is a saint? Some say saints are the best of the best believers; the cream of the Christian crop. But the Bible says that a saint is anyone “loved of God” (Romans 1:7), “sanctified in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2), who trust in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:18) and belongs to his church (Ephesians 2:19). Saints are those who belong to God by grace through faith in Christ. Thus, they are “his saints” (Psalm 116:15). How then is the death of a saint precious in God’s sight?

The death of a saint is precious in the sight of the Lord because it marks the end of their suffering. Many of us know the heartache of watching a loved one decline. Many simply fade away with old age. Some are eaten from the inside out with disease. Others get lost in the cruel fog of dementia.

Days before the Lord took her home, we to see my grandmother in her nursing home. She was strapped into her wheelchair to keep her upright. If she recognized me, she couldn’t say so because she lost the power of expression and speech. She could only squeeze my hand as we recited the 23rd Psalm for her. Witnessing the end of a woman who had been so strong and vibrant the whole of her life was brutal. I cannot imagine how dreadful it must have been for her to live through it. Nor can I imagine her ecstasy when, upon taking her last breath and giving up the ghost, the clouds in her mind cleared like that Galilean storm long ago. Her frozen memory thawed like a flower breaking up through snow. Her soul’s strength renewed and, like a bird loosed from its cage, she mounted up “with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31) and flew to heaven, never to know pain, sadness, or loneliness ever again.

Read More

Previous ArticleNext Article