“How would you rather die? By a shark, lion, or bear attack?” My younger brother asked me that question once while we were discussing some of our fears.
“None of them!”😱
“Come on, pick one – chicken.” His voice was cocky and teasing – it was a challenge.
“Alright, give me a sec…” I bought myself some time to quickly ponder the horror of each of those manners of death and remember shuddering because I had recently seen the movie Backcountry https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2944198/. The main bear attack in that movie was so real to me and horrifying! A lion would be just as bad!
“Because in the water I’d die more quickly, I think.”
“That’s what I think too,” he agreed.
We can often talk about death casually, but really, it’s serious business because no matter how death occurs in this life it isn’t final. It’s more like going through the doorway of our choices into either the freedom of eternal light or into the doom of eternal darkness. 🚪
Sometimes death and how it occurs is morbid. Some of the most terrifying methods of death come by the hands of other human beings. Just tune in to what’s going on in the world, especially in the Middle East.
“We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother.
And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil
and his brother’s righteous.”
– 1 John 3:12 ESV
Sometimes death comes through, what seems to be a weird chain of events. Halloween just passed https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween. Have you ever seen any of the Final Destination movies https://www.imdb.com/list/ls000699250/? Geez! 😨
They way some of the deaths play out in that series reminds me a bit of the deaths of King Ahab and his Queen Jezebel – deaths by God’s chain of events.
“Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel.
And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah,
for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel sin.’” And of Jezebel the LORD
also said, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel. Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the
city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.’”
1 Kings 21:21-24 ESV
In 1 Kings Chapter 13:24, check out where the old prophet’s jealousy landed the man of God for his disobedience: “And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body.”
Scripture tells of a time when death came along, but it was a ploy.
“And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has
devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.”
Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on
his loins and mourned for his son many days.”
– Genesis 37:33-34 ESV
Approximately seventeen years later…
“And they told him [Jacob], “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.”
– Genesis 45:26 ESV – [Comment added.]
God’s Word gives us Daniel’s story. Chapter 6 tells how God protected Daniel as he spent the night in a hungry lion’s den. He was released unharmed (verse 23), but then King Darius’ order turned on the folks who had accused Daniel. Verse 24 gives the detail that “… before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.”
There are almost 300 scripture verses referencing “beast” or “beasts” which were created by God and that He sometimes uses for His good purposes and glory https://www.thekingsbible.com/. But it’s the leviathans and behemoths – those tearers of flesh and bone crushers that make us cringe.
Let’s say you were going on a hike in a location where encountering grizzly bears is a high probability, would you take protective measures along with you? Maybe some bear repellant, ammunition, and a gun?
If your answer is no, your scenic hike could turn ugly – even deadly.
Take yourself back on that hike but this time you encounter a bear on the attack. You are armed properly. The bear charges so you shoot but miss. Your second shot hits but isn’t effective and agitates the bear further. He’s close, but there’s time to use the repellant and you do just as you taste the stench of his approach…
Scripture warns us all about a man-eater who is constantly in and around the scene – he prowls (1 Peter 5:8), and he is on the prowl. He is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), and he is lying. He wreaks havoc and violence – death.
Are you armed against him?
To protect yourself from that man-eater takes belief in another gruesome death… which is also the most beautiful of all deaths.
It is only Jesus’ death and His blood that wards off man-eaters and brings eternal light to those who believe in Him.
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
Hebrews 9:14 ESV