>When the Good Die Young

Text: I Kings 14:1-18

 

I.         It is a sad occasion when a young person meets with death

            A.        We think about the potential that was suddenly cut short.

            B.        The older people think about the experiences they enjoyed that this person didn’t have an opportunity to experience first hand

            C.        We realize we will miss their companionship, especially if this was a good person.

            D.        But most often, people ask why: why should this particular person leave the world so soon.

            E.        I can’t answer why in each individual case. God alone knows the reasons.

            F.        However, I would like us to consider some possibilities that may not be immediately apparent to you and I

II.        Being spared from evil times - Isaiah 57:1-2

            A.        The death of Abijah - I Kings 14:1-18

                        1.         Jeroboam’s son was ill. He wanted to know whether the boy would live, but he also knew that God was angry at him for setting up a false system of worship in Israel

                        2.         So he sent his wife in disguise with gifts to ask the prophet of God. Of course, God wasn’t fooled. Even though the prophet was old and blind, he knew his visitor before she came.

                        3.         The house of Jeroboam would fall. Every male would die and not be buried – except one, the child who was ill.

                        4.         The boy would die when she returned home. He would be spared the calamity of his father’s household because God saw something good in him - I Kings 14:13

                        5.         He alone of Jeroboam’s children was mourned and buried.

            B.        The death of Josiah

                        1.         When Josiah became king at the age of eight, Israel had long lost the Law and had become exceedingly wicked.

                        2.         Josiah, though, was different - II Kings 22:2

                        3.         When he was twenty-six, he commissioned a refurbishing of God’s temple and in the process a copy of the Law was found.

                        4.         Reading the lost words did not bring comfort - II Kings 22:13

                        5.         God revealed that the words were true: He was going to bring destruction upon Judah.

                        6.         But Josiah would not see it happen - II Kings 22:18-20

                        7.         Josiah worked hard to reform the people of Israel, but it wasn’t enough - II Kings 23:25-27

                        8.         He died at the age of thirty-nine

III.       There are times in world history when death is better than living

            A.        Oppression can make living so miserable that death spares a person further suffering - Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

            B.        This is not to say that a person would be justified in taking the life of another. It is putting the death in perspective.

            C.        Job was so miserable that he wished he never was born - Job 10:18-19

                        1.         He lost so much that he no longer saw life as worth the living.

            D.        Jeremiah, having to face the destruction of Israel, felt the same way - Jeremiah 20:14-18

            E.        We might not know what suffering God is sparing a child from facing when the child dies sooner than we had anticipated.

IV.      Wickedness spreads faster than righteousness

            A.        It is the nature of man. More people follow sin than follow God - Matthew 7:13-14.

            B.        There are times when the righteous become very scarce.

                        1.         In Noah’s day, only eight were spared.

                        2.         Only four left Sodom and Gomorrah

                        3.         Elijah thought he was the only one left, but God said there were still 7,000 in the land.

            C.        David realized the problem - Psalm 12:1

            D.        Micah saw the problem in his day as well - Micah 7:2

            E.        What happens when the good die and there is none to take their place?

            F.        Jeremiah was sent on a mission to find a good man in Jerusalem so the city would be spared - Jeremiah 5:1

                        1.         He failed to locate one person - Jeremiah 5:30-31

                        2.         What would be the end? Destruction came upon Israel.

V.        Have you ever given consideration that when you teach the gospel to others and they respond to its joyful message that you are helping to hold off the inevitable destruction of the world? - II Peter 3:9-10

            A.        While hope remains, we continue to instruct people in the way of salvation.

            B.        Given the history of man, the response will likely decrease over the years.

            C.        Events might happen to cause many to turn back to God, but attrition will always set in.

            D.        One day, God will say, “Enough!”

            E.        Meanwhile, the earth remains and there is still hope. Will you become one of the faithful?