If you’re like me, when you hear the words Precious Moments you think of the figurines of adorable children that were so ubiquitous a few years back. These little pieces of art commemorated the most special moments in life – anniversaries, new babies, birthdays, special holidays and more. Kim and I still have the porcelain bride and groom that sat atop our wedding cake on the day we were married nearly thirty years ago.
In an average lifetime we experience millions of moments, but only a few are so unforgettably special that they deserve that title – PRECIOUS.
Let me offer one more brilliant moment that deserves to be called that. It’s one you probably wouldn’t ever think to put on your list. No one would ever dare to make a figurine commemorating the occasion. Yet in God’s eyes it so holy that it deserves that title – precious.
“PRECIOUS in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:115)
Usually this Hebrew word is used to describe precious stones – costly and rare jewels that would be set into the crown of the king; gems of such immense value that they would be safeguarded as a national treasure. You may have a few such precious stones yourself. Perhaps you wear one on your hand to commemorate the treasured moment that was your wedding.
Precious: That is the very same word that the Psalmist uses to describe God’s estimation of the moment when one of His children breathes their very last upon this earth. A moment that can be so incredibly painful, and which so many try to block out altogether – God Almighty describes it as an occasion He treasures.
Why would God so treasure the death of a saint, that He would call it PRECIOUS?
- This moment is PRECIOUS because it is a testimony to the sovereign grace of God.
The death of a saint is something that God guards personally. It cannot come one day before He allows nor one instant before He ordains. No power in all the earth can “take” the life of His saints. It is only when His gentle hand releases it that it comes to an end.
The chosen ones of God are priceless to Him, but not only for our days upon the earth. Before our first breath, after our last breath, and into time without end God’s love is unbroken. Because of this witness to His unfailing love, the death of His godly one is precious.
- This moment is PRECIOUS because it is a testimony to the life of the believer.
If not even the life of a sparrow can end apart from the loving notice of our heavenly Father, how much more His redeemed child? This moment represents the finish line of a race run well – cheered on by the saints who have gone on before, waved across the finish line by their Savior, Jesus, and escorted in by angels of glory. The pronouncement of the Father is that this moment is eternally precious.
- This moment is PRECIOUS because it is a testimony before the eyes of the living.
Hebrews 11:4 tells us of Abel who was commended by God as righteous. “And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” In the same way a departed believer continues to testify to faith even after they have died through the legacy of godliness that they leave behind. For those of us who remain, as we consider the way in which they lived out their days, it can’t help but inspire us to consider the way that we are living out ours.
A final goodbye from this life is anything but easy. Even for those of us who are in Christ, we grieve deeply. We weep. We hurt. This is the price that we must pay for having loved so deeply. But even in the midst of all of this, even through our tears, we can still declare such a moment as profoundly good. How could we possibly call it anything less, when God Himself has declared it to be precious?
“Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:7-9)