Read Genesis 48, Job 14, and Hebrews 6 today. This devotional is about Job 14.
When I was a kid, a girl who went to my church was crossing a major road near Rochester, where I grew up. She was jaywalking but there was no crosswalk anywhere nearby. A driver hit her and she was killed instantly. I didn’t really know her and she was a few years older than me, but my parents knew her parents pretty well so we went to her funeral.
That was the first time that death felt real to me. My grandmother had died and I had gone to her funeral when I was much younger, But she was old, so her death, while sad, didn’t make me think about death or feel it as a reality in my life.
The death of the girl who was hit by a car was a different experience. I was older than when my grandmother died, so I’m sure I had a much greater comprehension of death. But because the girl who was hit by the car was closer to my age, her death was much more sobering to me. I began to realize that I could die anytime and that I would die someday.
This chapter of Job is almost a lament about the reality of death. It was spoken directly to God as we see in verse 3, “Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them before you for judgment?” Job complains directly to God here in this chapter about the reality of death. He told God in essence, “You know how long each of us will live. No one can’t change his lifespan, so “look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.”
That’s how life and death seemed to Job at this moment: We humans are all on the clock before God, waiting for the whistle to blow and indicate the end of our shift on this earth.
In verses 7-17, Job turned his thoughts to the afterlife. He wonders aloud, “If someone dies, will they live again?” (v. 14a) but he knows the answer: “I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made” (vv. 14c-15). These words demonstrate Job’s belief in the resurrection.
He was also convinced that his resurrection would give him a perfect life: “Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.”
But before he was raised and given a perfect new life, his life on this earth would erode “as water wears away stones” (v. 19a). He knew that he would die (v. 20) and miss out on lots of things he would like to see (v. 21).
Death is, for sure, the worst thing about life. Even with the hope of eternal life, we still mourn the passing of people we love and dread the day of our own demise.
That is because death is the penalty for sin. God didn’t create us to die so death feels foreign and wrong to us. I’ve noticed that people who are elderly still seem surprised and unprepared when people their age and older die. That’s because death is never easy to accept because we weren’t created to die.
As somber as this passage is, it still glimmers with the hope of eternal life. Knowing Jesus doesn’t make death any more pleasant but it does remove the hopelessness and fear that people outside of salvation face.
Are you ready to die? Have you put your faith in Christ alone? Are you living today for the glory of God so that, if death comes unexpectedly, you will have used the time you had on this earth well?