as good as dead

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise…My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Psalm 55:1, 2 & 4

Spurgeon tells us that David’s spirit writhed in agony…he was mentally as much in pain as a woman in travail [is] physically. His inmost soul was touched; and a wounded spirit who can bear?…Mortal fears seized him, he felt like one suddenly surrounded with the glooms of the shadow of death, upon whom the eternal night suddenly descends. Within and without he was afflicted…He gave himself up for lost [and] felt that he was as good as dead…Think of our Lord in the garden, with His “soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death” and you have a parallel to the griefs of the psalmist. Spurgeon ends with an exhortation that I fear is too rare these days: Perchance, dear reader, if as yet thou hast not trodden this gloomy way, thou wilt do soon; then be sure to mark the footprints of thy Lord in this miry part of the road.

I seldom hear preached the necessity of preparing for one’s own death even though we may be called to walk that vale far sooner than we hope. Can we postpone the day by pretending that it will never come? David asks of our LORD, “make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient [frail] I am” (Psalm 39:4). Matthew Henry comments on the preceding verse that even [i]n our greatest health and prosperity, every man is altogether vanity, he cannot live long; he may die soon. This is an undoubted truth, but we are very unwilling to believe it. Therefore let us pray that God would enlighten our minds by his Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts with his grace, that we may be ready for death every day and hour.

Jehovah-Shalom (the LORD, our Peace), whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none on earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. When You call me to walk through the shadows of my death, I pray that You would grant me grace to sustain my faith and remembrance of Christ Jesus, my LORD, who walked the same steps before me so that I may spend eternity worshiping You and enjoying the Light of Your Countenance. Teach me to number my days so that I might leave this world knowing that I have walked in the Way of Wisdom and shown Your love to all. In and through Christ I pray. Amen.

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