For I know that Thou wilt bring me to death. Job 30:23.
Perhaps, when I read the words in your hearing, you did not notice all they contain. Let me then point out to you certain hidden jewels.
Job, even in his anguish, does not for a moment forget his God. He perceives that he will not die apart from God. He does not say his severe boils or his strangulation will bring him to death; but “THOU wilt bring me to death.” He does not trace his approaching death to chance, or to fate, or to second causes; no, he sees only the hand of the Lord. To him belong both life and death. Do not say that the wasting consumption took away your darling; do not complain that a fierce fever killed your father; but feel that the Lord himself has done it. “It is the Lord, let him do what seems good to him.” Do not blame the accident, neither complain about the pestilence; for Jehovah himself gathers home his own. Only he will remove you and me. “I know that THOU will bring ME to death.” There is to my heart much delightful comfort in the language before us. I love that old-fashioned verse —
Plagues and deaths around me fly
Till he bids I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of Love thinks fit.
All things are ordained by God, and especially are our deaths under the particular oversight of our exalted Lord and Saviour. He lives and was dead, and carries the keys of death on his belt. He himself shall guide us through death’s iron gate. Surely what the Lord wills and what he himself works cannot be otherwise than acceptable to his chosen! Let us rejoice that in life and death we are in the Lord’s hands.
The text seems to me to cover another sweet and comforting thought, namely, that God will be with us in death. “I know that Thou wilt bring me to death.” He will bring us on our journey until he brings us to the journey’s end: himself our escort and our leader. We shall have the Lord’s company even to our dying hour: He leads me even to those still waters which men so much fear. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Beloved, we live with God, do we not? Shall we not die with him? It is not living that is happiness, but living with God: it is not dying that will be wretchedness, but dying without God. The child has to go to bed, but he does not cry if mother is going upstairs with him. It is quite dark; but what of that? The mother’s eyes are lamps to the child. It is very lonely and still. Not so; the mother’s arms are the child’s company, and her voice is his music. Oh Lord, when the hour comes for me to go to bed, I know that Thou wilt take me there, and speak lovingly into my ear; therefore I cannot fear, but will even look forward to that hour of Thy revealed love. You had not thought of that, had you? You have been afraid of death: but you cannot be so any longer if your Lord will bring you there in his arms of love. Dismiss all fear, and calmly proceed on your way, though the shadows thicken around you; for the Lord is your light and your salvation. CH Spurgeon