Death Swallowed Up
Sunday, November 16, 2014
9 It is your destruction, O Israel,
That you are against Me, against your help.
10 Where now is your king
That he may save you in all your cities,
And your judges of whom you requested,
"Give me a king and princes"?
11 I gave you a king in My anger,
And took him away in My wrath.
12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
His sin is stored up.
13 The pains of childbirth come upon him;
He is not a wise son,
For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb.
14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight. NASB
It is your destruction, O Israel, that you are against Me, against your help. Hosea reminds the people of God that they have left their first love. They have left the one who could save them. They have put their trust in dubious allies when they turned to Egypt and Assyria for aid. Eventually Assyria over ran them and became their rulers.
It was because they had forsaken God who had chosen them as His people. The people who would one day give birth to the Only Begotten Son of God. He calls them back from their stubborn rebellion.
You may have noticed some familiar lines in this passage. Paul quotes this passage as he writes to the Corinthians. Look with me at 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. NASB
Paul says the sting of death is sin. But thanks be to God who gives us victory over sin and death. He raises us to new life. He has taken the sting out of death. We who are trusting God to save us, to love us, to lead us by His mighty hand no longer need to fear death. We have the hope of life eternal. We have a home awaiting us on the other side of the River of Life. We are expecting to live forever praising and glorifying the God who made us and saved us.
Paul also quotes from Isaiah here.
6 And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
"Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." NASB
Isaiah says God will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces.
What is there to fear when the fear of death is removed? Sorrow will one day be a thing of the past. Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Death could not hold our Savior in the grave. The power and might of God raised Him up.
Paul tells us that we too will be raised. 51 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
Here is another one of the mysteries that is no longer a mystery. The trumpet of God will call the living and the dead to rise and be changed forever into the creatures we were made to be: people who love God and glorify Him with all of creation singing Holy, Holy, Holy is God and the Lamb on the throne.
We said goodbye to one we loved this week. But we are not discouraged because we will be rejoined one day. Death has been swallowed up in victory.
2 Cor 4:7-15
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, " I believed, therefore I spoke, "we also believe, therefore also we speak; 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. NASB
The enemy of our souls wants us to accept the idea that God deserts us when we go through difficulties and troubles. Nothing could be further from the truth. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. We can face the problems of life because God is with us. His power and strength are with us to help us as we suffer. These things are not punishment. Do we deserve punishment? Yes. But God took our punishment upon Himself at Calvary.
We must put our trust in God. We must believe that He loves us. We must run to the Father who is waiting for us with open arms. He is ready to forgive our rejection of Him. He is ready to accept us just as we are.
The enemy says God does not love us as much as He says He does. Satan whispers in our ear that God is withholding good things from us. Do not listen to His lies. He loves you. He has a plan for you, a plan for good and not for evil.
He conquered death and Hell and the grave. That power is Emmanuel, God with us. That power is Jesus and the Spirit of God. That power is the presence of God in our lives.
Death is swallowed up. What is left to fear?
John says that perfect love casts out fear. And yet we are instructed to fear God. We are to respect God and honor Him by submitting to His Lordship. But we have no need to fear Him in the sense of hiding from His wrath. Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself. Our sin debt has been paid in full.
When Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden they had a healthy respect and fear of God. When they listened to the enemy, they accepted the lie that God was withholding something good from them. They had failed to trust God.
When God returned, they were ashamed and hid from Him. He sought them out and spilled the first blood in creation to cover their shame.
This is what Jesus did for us. He took the shame upon Himself. Now we can face God with humility and thankfulness for His great love. Our death has been swallowed up. We deserve to die, but God offers life and forgiveness. He simply asks that we honor and love Him as Savior and Lord of our lives. Turn from our fear of Him and allow Him to love us and forgive us.
Death is swallowed up! Praise God. Thank God. Love God who loves us with this great Love.
Begin walking in the light of the truth of God's love. His love for us casts out our fear of Him.
We love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.
Our passage in Hosea began with the statement “It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help.”
We struggle and we strive and we worry and we hold God at arms length. But we destroy our only hope when we reject the only one who can help us. We destroy ourselves when we reject God and the love and grace that He offers.
God has defeated the real enemy. He is on his last legs. Run from the lies he tells you when those thoughts come into your mind that God has deserted you. When the enemy tells you God wants to withhold good things from you don't listen to Him. Turn to the only one who can save you and give you life. Turn to Jesus. Trust Him to meet your needs as you walk with Him each day.
Death is swallowed up. God gives life abundant and life eternal. Come to Him and rest.