The Fear of Death; April 14, 2021


Acts 2:25 “David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.'”

I think it’s significant that David was given the privilege of prophesying about his most important Descendant. It is also notable that Peter, an uneducated fisherman, could quote blocks of Scripture like this. Whereas it’s true that rote memorization of Scripture was far more a part of the culture in those days, it is undeniable that the same Holy Spirit who had just been poured out on the believers guided Peter in exactly which Scriptures to use, both from Joel and from Psalms. The specific statement here is of great and timely relevance to us today. Many people today are indeed shaken, driven to fear by a real virus and false claims about it. Yesterday I watched a short video of Phil Robertson talking about how strange it is that so many genuine Christians, even, are controlled by a fear of death in these days, when everyone is going to die sometime, and believers have eternity to look forward to. That’s what this passage, quoted from Psalm 16, is all about. David didn’t have the proof of Jesus’ resurrection to give him assurance, but he had faith nonetheless, and that was enough. It is only logical that believers today, who have the whole record of the Bible and 2000 years of history since, should have total peace by doing what David says here: looking to the Lord. It is a sign of the devil’s deception that so many fail to walk in that peace.

I don’t think I’ve ever had much fear of death. That manifested in a moment of great self-centeredness when I was in college, when I lay down on the floor and started a self-hypnosis routine to slow and then stop my heart and my breathing, with every intention of dying. I knew it was possible, because a Japanese friend (?!) had almost killed me with such a hypnosis routine when I was in the 10th grade, and I was actually quite good at hypnosis at this point. However, the Lord spoke to me, saying “Don’t do that,” and I did abandon the procedure and go back to living. (Incidentally, I don’t do hypnosis at all at this point, because it is manipulating a person’s will, and human free will is so precious that Jesus died to preserve it.) I have been present for many people’s deaths, and it has been tragic only when the person has not been a believer. I grieved when each of my parents died, but it was for my own loss of fellowship with them in this earth; I knew full well that they had gone to great joy and reward. I am concerned about my own death at this point only in how it will affect those I leave behind. I will confess that I hardly look forward to my wife’s death, but that is entirely because of my own loss in this life, rather than any fear for her. After all, she’s already been to heaven once and come back, and she knows how wonderful it is! I am not to be satisfied with my own assurance of salvation, but rather seek to bring as many people along with me as possible. I’ve already written a statement to be read at my funeral, inviting people to acknowledge Jesus as Lord so that they will eventually be able to join me with Him. World events and personal events do tend to shake me at times, but I must remember this truth that David knew.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for having me run across that video yesterday. I pray that I too would be an instrument for You to lead others to faith and assurance, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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