What a Difference!

Read: Psalm 88:1-12

O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! (vv 1-2)

We must not read the New Testament back into the Old Testament. In Scripture there is progressive revelation. Except for a flash of insight now and then, God’s Old Testament people knew little about life after death. When the psalmist asks the question, “Do you work wonders for the dead?” (v. 10), the answer he expects is “No.” He thinks of death as “the land of forgetfulness.”

But the New Testament says that “Jesus brought life and immortality to light” (2 Tim. 1:10). Jesus reveals that beyond death there is not forgetfulness but a glorious life in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. So Paul can say, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Death is gain because it means to have more of Christ.

What a difference the revelation Christ has given us makes in our outlook on life and death. The psalmist was God’s man, but these glorious truths had not yet been revealed. He is depressed and sees himself on the brink of death. Death is our last enemy, but it has been conquered by Christ.

Death is the doorway to glory. Last year it was discovered that I have an incurable, terminal disease. Yet I look forward with the assurance that when death comes I will see my Savior face to face in all his glory. —Harry Buis

As you pray, praise God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and rest in the assurance of eternal life with him.

About the Author

The Rev. Harry Buis served as a Reformed Church in America pastor for 41 years, serving six congregations. He had a consuming passion for the Word of God, preached and written, and would take up his pen to share that passion at a moment’s notice. His enthusiasm for God and the Bible was his signature. Rev. Buis edited the Words of Hope daily devotional for twenty years, and wrote several books and numerous articles. He also taught as an adjunct at Hope College, Western Theological Seminary, and Kuyper College. He served the church in many capacities, and was elected President of General Synod of the RCA in 1980. Rev. Buis died of cancer in 2001.