Funeral Job 5_26
With full vigour to the grave
A full life in the Lord
Scripture Reading: Job 5:17-26
There are times when Christians do not have answers to their questions. We are not meant have all answers to all questions. But it is inevitably for Christians to ask questions when they see a loving member of their family slipping away into death.
We think of all the things we know from Scriptures: we think of Christ, we think of his providence, we think of his promises of his care, and yet we see the struggle with death itself. And then we ask the question: "Why do we need to die?"
In times like these, more than ever, man finds himself embarrassed. We have to admit, in death we lose control and everything we may try to prevent it, fails. But it exactly this feeling and emotion drives us out to God as we look for answers.
From Job, the man of sorrows and distress, we learn a few things today:
God’s timing is good
Verse 26 says: “With full vigour you will come to the grave.”
Full vigour! Certainly one can refer to vigour if you talk young of young people. Is 90 years of age an age that can be referred to as vigorous? Probably not in a human sense of the word. But the definition of this word is not left to us. In the eye of man when is a good time to die?
In the eyes of God it ties in with the purpose of God. When God, who is sovereign, has worked out his purposes in the life of man, when life has reached its full meaning in the eyes of the Creator who holds everything in his hands, - more specifically when the deceased has lived a life of commitment to the Lord - that life is ended in full vigour.
It has the meaning of a meaningful, functional and purposeful life in the unfolding plan of God in the world.
It does thus not necessarily point to a high age.
So, God’s timing is always good.
The rest of this verse helps us to understand. It refers to the sheaves gathered in for the harvest. It says: “Like sheaves gathered in season.” When is the season for the harvest? It is when the plant has reached it full maturity. The farmer plants the seed with one purpose. He does not want the crop to look good. He does not want to show off with the height of the plants. His purpose is to see that the plants reach maturity. Yes it might look dead by the time it is harvested. But what is important is the seed. It is the seed that produces 30 fold, or 60 fold or 100 fold. That is a harvest. That harvest is full of vigour. The plant reached its purpose. The season, the time of harvest, is them timely.
God saw that the harvest was ready. He saw that the purpose for the life that He had given 90 years ago is fulfilled. And like the heavenly farmer He harvested it in full vigour.
Death is unavoidable
Seed are sown with the purpose to be harvested one day. The harvest is unavoidable. “You will go to the grave”. Do we live keeping this certain fact in our minds all the time? The heavenly Farmer has a season for us. We can’t live on earth forever. The last day of our lives is unavoidable. No matter how we try to extent our life on earth, there is an end. Much is said today about longevity. And yet, if we keep the sheave of grain in mind, we must admit that the most vigorous wheat plant, will, when it is time, change its colour – it will become dry, it will wither, and it will day. It only lives for a season.
Death is meaningful
What would we think of the farmer who turns his back on the pale yellow airs on his wheat paddock? What if he was disappointed because his crop died? No, we know the time of harvest is a time of festivity. How I remember those days. Early on those cold winter mornings we would get up. With expectation we would go into the harvest fields. And the bags of wheat or corn would be counted. And the more bags, the better. Yes it was dusty in the dry winter days; yes it was effort to bring in the harvest; but there was joy. And as we would bring in the grain, we would immediately start making plans for the next season. All the hard work was worth the while, because there is a definite end to the season. It was worthwhile because there was a harvest.
In the same way, for the faithful child of God death is meaningful. Through tears and amidst the pain and sorrow, we see haven’s door wide open to welcome the child of God into the eternal house of God where He gathers in his harvest of saved sinner through the blood and righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
When the faithful servant of God dies, he dies in God’s timing – with full vigour. He dies, because we cannot live here on earth forever. He dies to go into life everlasting. God clothes him with immortality because He promised to raise him on the day of our Lord with and new body on His new earth. And they will live with Him into all eternity.