Do not bring on your own death by sinful actions. God did not invent death, and when living creatures die, it gives him no pleasure. He created everything so that it might continue to exist, and everything he created is wholesome and good. There is no deadly poison in them. No, death does not rule this world, for God’s justice does not die.
Ungodly people have brought death on themselves by the things they have said and done. They yearn for death as if it were a lover. They have gone into partnership with death, and it is just what they deserve. -Wisdom 1:12-16 (GNT)
The verses above are taken from a book of the Apocrypha called Wisdom. I really think they sum it up. We are so often quick to blame God for sickness and death, when in reality it is people that have brought the pan of death to this world through their own actions. God loves us and warns us against sinful behavior — which doesn’t just grieve Him, it is self-destructive.
One of the things that the freedom we are afforded by God carries with it is responsibility for our own actions and subsequent consequences. Terrible things routinely happen to ourselves as a result of our poor decisions and actions and also often to innocent bystanders. If we drink and drive, people may be hurt or killed. If we smoke, we may get lung cancer or suffer any number of physical maladies as a result.
Humanity has introduced sickness and death to this world. It began in the story of Genesis and has progressed ever since. It was not God’s intention or design for this to happen. God is truly sovereign, and in His wisdom He has given us what we call ‘free will.’ He has also given us access to His wisdom, should we choose to ask and accept it. The choice is ours. Either way, the cycle of life and death is now in motion and will remain until He deems it time for a change. We have the hope of eternal life, as He has planted the idea of eternity in our hearts.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
Do not invite death by the error of your life,
or bring on destruction by the works of your hands;
because God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
For he created all things so that they might exist;
the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them,
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
-Wisdom 1:12-14 (NRSV)
I attend an evangelical church that recently lost one of its “members” (in quotes because there is no formal ‘membership role’ as in most churches) to a drug overdose. He was 43 years old and struggled with a heroin addiction for some time. Sadly, he wasted his life and witness for Christ– because he died after making the decision to use again. I cannot and will not spin it any other way.
There are those who say that God may have taken him before things got any worse for him or those around him, and that may be true. Someday, perhaps we will know the truth of it. Of course, it does not negate the fact that I am fairly confident that the abrupt end to his life by a drug overdose is not what God wanted. I do not wish to start speaking for God or pretending to know His will for everyone else’s life– when I am not even sure of what it is for me. I discover that for myself on a daily basis. But, from what I know of the Bible and through my walk with Christ, it doesn’t fit that he would be happy with this.
I am sad, deeply sad, that he seems to have “invited death by the error of his life.” I also know that God has the ability to redeem this situation and turn it to His good in some way that I may not find obvious. Perhaps our friend’s final witness will impact somebody who is heading down the wrong path and may take notice of the life and tragic death of our friend. Maybe his death will save someone else.
My friend’s name is Chris and now he resides with others in a realm awaiting that glorious day of resurrection. I look forward to our meeting again and pray that the remembrance of him and his life will contribute to this world in a positive way and bring glory to our Father in heaven. I must always remember that it is better to be dead with Christ than alive without Him.
All wisdom is from the Lord,
and with him it remains forever.
The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
and the days of eternity—who can count them?
The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,
the abyss, and wisdom—who can search them out?
Wisdom was created before all other things,
and prudent understanding from eternity.
The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed?
Her subtleties—who knows them?
There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared,
seated upon his throne—the Lord.
It is he who created her;
he saw her and took her measure;
he poured her out upon all his works,
upon all the living according to his gift;
he lavished her upon those who love him.
-Sirach 1:1-10 (NRSV)
We live in an age of marvelous technological advances that seem to have ‘leap-frogged’ ahead in some ways. It is easy to be full of ourselves and, as a character from one of the Star Wars movies did, think we (like his fictional ‘Death Star’) have become the “ultimate power in the universe.” I chose to quote from the book of Sirach (a book of the Apocrypha also known as Ecclesiasticus in some circles) because the truth of where wisdom actually comes from is adequately stated here. May God bless you as you ponder the awesome, immeasurable wisdom that He freely gives us– if we but ask in faith.