Thousands of people do not know that it is possible to die before one’s time. When a car runs someone over you hear the phrase “It was her time to go.” Thousands, maybe even millions of world’s inhabitants, think that people die when their number or name calls in Heaven. Some may wonder why this is important. I will tell you why. If people believe that it is their destiny to die at a certain age then they will throw responsibility and good sense out of the window. They will throw caution to the wind and eat unhealthily, drink lots of alcohol, party all night, commit adultery without fear of sexually transmitted diseases, and generally live as if they were invincible. Oops! I think people are already living like that! You see, they believe that they cannot die before their time so why follow rules that point out the dangers of getting sick and dying. Ah, but if you can die before your time then we must solemnly observe the laws of health and good reason and live close to God and act as if each day was our last. What does God’s Word say about all this?
What does the Bible say?
God inspired Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived to write in Eccles. 7:17:
“Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?”
There it is plain as day. We can die before our time.
If it were impossible to die before our time God’s promises of long life would not make any sense.
Proverbs 3:1 tells us not to forget the law and the commandments. Twice in that same chapter we are told that the law and the commandments as well as wisdom will lengthen our lives if we follow their instructions. Prov. 3:2,16 says:
“2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.”
“16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.”
Wisdom is personified in Prov. 9:11 and she says “For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.”
Deut. 4:40 adds “Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.” (See also Deut. 6:2; 25:15; 30:19,20; 32:46,47)
This Long Life Promised Is Conditional.
1 Kings 3:14 “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”
What is the promise of the Fifth Commandment?
The answer is – long life.
Ex 20:12 says “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.?
Eph. 6:2,3 repeats this promise clarifying that the land spoken of here is the earth.
Two Important Points From Bible Biographies
(1) King Hezekiah’s life was lengthened by fifteen years.
Isa 38:5 “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.”
(2) If Moses had not interceded for Aaron after the latter made a golden calf to be worshipped he would have died forty years before he did.
Deut. 9:20 “And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.”
There are a plethora of other texts to prove that it is possible to die before one’s time. Those that I quoted and put as references should be sufficient for the Bible believer. We need to realize that we can die at any time and that we are largely responsible for when we die. Our actions can either shorten or lengthen our days. That is not to say that good people do not die young or that wicked people do not live long, but by and large if we follow God we would live longer than if we did not. Do not look at the smoker next-door who has good genes from birth and a strong constitution. Let us not compare ourselves with others. Compare yourself with yourself. We must know how the comparison works in our own lives. If WE do not smoke we will live longer than if WE smoked. Psa. 90:12 so very appropriately ends my discourse saying:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
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