Lessons Learned from a Near-Death Experience


     The record of David’s life in First Samuel clearly records several near-death experiences.  At one point, he tells his beloved friend Jonathon, “there is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).

     Psalm 30 was written by David shortly after an escape from his enemies (v. 1) and sickness (v. 2); he writes, “O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (v. 3).  God’s chastisement was over (v. 5).  David’s mourning had turned into dancing; his sackcloth had been replaced with gladness (v. 11).

     From this ordeal, David learned several invaluable lessons.  Consider the ones he enumerates:

  • God is to be extolled (v. 1), praised, and thanked (v. 4) because of His favor (v. 5). God does gracious things because of Who He is, not because of who or how great am.
  • Self-sufficiency is to be abhorred. At some point in his life, David had said, “I shall never be moved” (v. 6).  He was dead wrong.  As David discovered, self-sufficiency is a boldfaced lie.  “Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled” (v. 7).
  • Humble penitence is essential to Jehovah’s deliverance. “I cried out to You, O Lord; and to the Lord I made supplication: ‘What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?  Will the dust praise You?  Will it declare Your truth?  Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!’” (vv. 8-10).  Genuine repentance contains an intense sense of desperation; hence, David cried out and made supplications to the Lord.
  • A heartfelt debt of ceaseless praise and gratitude ought to arise from the ashes of one’s penitence. “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (vv. 11-12).

     Spiritually speaking, all of us have had more than a near-death experience with sin (Ephesians 2:1-3).  How much more, then, ought these four lessons be woven into the fabric of the daily lives of all those who have been made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

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Author: jchowning

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