There is probably no greater show of disrespect than when we disregard punctuality in keeping our appointments with others. It is one of the most selfish of traits to consider that our time is more important than the person or persons we are supposed to meet at a given place and time. Often it is difficult to overcome the impression, of a lack of respect, we leave with others when we fail to meet these obligations in a timely fashion. It is better to make no agreement to meet with someone at a certain time and place than, after so agreeing, to ignore that contract and show up late. Most of the time when we act in this fashion we can come up with a plausible excuse for our delay, but the reality is that our tardiness is a result of our lack of esteeming others above ourselves. (see Rom.12:10; Eph.4:2; Phil.2:3)
We can learn many things in studying the life of Samuel, the prophet. He was truly a man that GOD used in a mighty way. I believe we can also learn many things from this simple passage of scripture which tells us of the death of Samuel; "And Samuel died". This phrase is packed with many lessons, though it only contains three words.
"AND Samuel died." Though we have all been guilty of missing and being late for earthly appointments, there is one appointment which we shall not avoid or be tardy in keeping. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die," (Heb 9:27), so shall all flesh taste that fate and shall not escape. (We know and understand that there are some who are appointed to be translated at the return of our LORD who shall not see death. But this is an exception and does not change the rule that men are given an appointment with death) Job said, "For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living." (Job 30:23) So while it may be true that the LORD could return in our lifetime, yet if HE does not, then it is certain that we shall die even as Samuel and all flesh that has gone before us (with the exception of Enoch and Elijah). One day some will read these words: and _________ died, with our name in the blank.
"And SAMUEL died." Samuel was a mighty prophet who spoke the word of GOD plainly and faithfully; yet just like all mighty men who came before and after him, he died. A man's position or usefulness does not preclude his appointment with death. No matter how faithful or blest a man may be, GOD will not overturn the sentence HE has passed on sinful flesh. (see Gen.3:19; II Sam 14:14; Psalm 89:48; Rom.5:12) Some teach that CHRIST paid for the healing of our bodies, from fleshly ailments, by receiving the stripes upon HIS back. (see Isa.53:5) Such an idea is appealing to the religious flesh of men but has no basis in fact. We believe that CHRIST actually and exactly accomplished what HE intended to do in HIS suffering and death on this earth. The fact that sickness and disease remains in the true sons of GOD means that HE did not intend that every disease which befalls HIS children should be healed or else what HE did is ineffectual or at best partially successful. Sickness and disease are but a foretaste, and sometimes the forerunner, of death. Even the true sons of GOD are not exempt from its ravages. No man is indispensable to the ongoing of the Kingdom, therefore all must die.
"And Samuel DIED." Death, as well as life, are the province of GOD. HE is the giver of life and the administrator of death. No one ever dies until the time appointed by Almighty GOD. "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and, is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost THOU open THINE eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with THEE? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with THEE, THOU hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass." (Job 14:1-5) GOD owns death just like HE owns the devil. Neither one has any power outside of that which HE directs and allows. "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." (Isaiah 45:5-7)
Death is but a tool in the LORD's hand that HE uses to:
- Administer judgement on the wicked. "GOD is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, HE will whet his sword; HE hath bent his bow, and made it ready. HE hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; HE ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors." (Psalms 7:11-13)
- Manifest HIS justice. "For the wages of sin is death". (Romans 6:23)
- Show the contrast between the kingdom of flesh and blood and the Kingdom of GOD. "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Matt 4:16)
- Manifest to an unbelieving world HIS power. "Then said JESUS unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe;" (John 11:14-15)
- Bring about the reconciliation of HIS people. "We were reconciled to GOD by the death of his SON." (Romans 5:10)
- Plainly demonstrate that by the works of the law no flesh can be justified. "And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death." (Romans 7:10)
- Display the true freedom of the children of GOD. "For the law of the Spirit of life in CHRIST JESUS hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2)
- Manifest the glory of redemption. "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? " (1 Cor 15:54-55) (Psalms 119:75)