Have you ever looked up the last words uttered by famous people?
Consider a few examples:
Dean, who died in a car wreck, reportedly said, “That guy’s
got to stop…He’ll see us.”
John Adams, who died the same day as Thomas Jefferson said,
“Thomas Jefferson still survives.”
Jefferson, dying on July 4th said, “This is the
Washington said, “Tis well.”
Wells said, “Go away; I’m alright.”
Ruth said, “I’m going over the valley.”
Marx said, “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who
haven’t said enough.”
Of course, despite Marx’s
repudiation, everyone utters last words. Some of the most
important “last words” ever uttered were from Jesus. In this
case, they weren’t really His last words, but only His last
words before He died. According to Luke
23:46, Jesus’ words before breathing his last were,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (ESV).
Amazingly, in the throes of suffering and death, Jesus had the
presence of mind to quote Psalm
31:5, originally written by David. But, more than just
quoting a psalm, Jesus was applying this psalm to what He was
facing. As He hung on the cross dying, in the face of those who
mocked Him, He was able to say that He was committing Himself to
God. Peter comments on this saying, “When he was reviled, he did
not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but
continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (I
Peter 2:23, ESV). When we refer back to the psalm Jesus
quoted, we can understand how as He hung in agony, breathing His
last, He could maintain His faith in God. Examine the psalm in the
context of Jesus’ death and learn some lessons for us today as
we entrust our souls to God no matter what happens.
Troubles come even for the faithful.
Despite the fact that David was a man after God’s own
heart, he went through troubled times. He wrote in Psalm
31:9-10, “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in
distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing…”
(ESV). We know of some of David’s troubled times. Though God had
promised him the kingdom, he first had to endure the oppression of
Saul who chased him out of the kingdom. Then once he was king, he
had to endure the rebellion of Absalom and even the reproaches of
his subjects. Despite David being a faithful servant to God, he
Consider Jesus quoting this psalm in Luke. Here was the
only sinless person to ever walk the face of the earth. He had a
relationship with the Father we can probably never fathom, yet
look at the hardship He faced—poverty, persecution and finally
We need to recognize this. Too often we have the idea that
when we are faithful, we should never have trouble. It just
doesn’t work that way. Even David and Jesus faced trouble. We
will experience grief and sorrow. We will experience trouble from
enemies. We will lose jobs. We will lose loved ones. We will get
sick. We will face pain. We will be betrayed by others. This does
not mean God doesn’t exist or isn’t there. It also doesn’t
mean that God doesn’t love us. It just means we are dealing with
life. Trouble happens, even to Christians, so don’t turn your
back on God when they come. Rather, run to Him for help.
God knows our distress.
According to Psalm
31:7, God knows our distress. We may think He has
forgotten us or is not paying attention to us. We may think He
doesn’t realize how bad it is for us. But He does know and He
does care. David explained God’s care by saying, “…and you
have not delivered me into the hand of my enemy…” (vs.
8, ESV). We need to remember I
Corinthians 10:13, which says God will not let us face
anything we can’t handle. He knows what we are facing and He
knows our limits. He will not let us face something so bad that we
cannot help turning to sin and Satan. He always provides a way of
escape from the hand of our enemy.
We must take comfort in this. Our God sees. Our God knows.
We are not hidden from Him. He has not forgotten us. He has His
reasons for letting us face whatever we are facing, whether it be
for testing, discipline, edification, protection. We need to
understand that God sees the big picture. He knows how what we are
facing is going to turn out for our good in the end and He will
make it turn out for good as long as we continue to love Him (Romans
8:28). I may not know what your are facing, but God does
and He already knows how He is going to use it for your good in
the long run. Take comfort in that.
Think about what it means that Jesus quoted from this psalm
while on the cross. Even while separated from the Father by our
sins, while suffering anguish physically and spiritually, He knew
the Father saw Him, knew His needs and was going to work it our
for good. We can have that same comfort and trust.
Even when we think we are cut off from Him, He is there and
I found Psalm
31:22 to be the most helpful. David said, “I had said in
my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ But you heard the
voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help” (ESV).
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt cut off from God?
Have you ever felt like you were hidden from Him by your troubles?
David felt that way. Jesus felt that way. In Matthew
24:46 He cried out another psalm saying, “My God, my
God, why have you forsaken me?” (ESV). We are not bad Christians
when we have felt this way. However, we need to respond to this
feeling the same way these examples did.
We need to cry out to God, maintaining our faith that
despite our feeling of being alone, God is with us. He will hear
us. He will respond to our pleas for help and mercy. We need to
13:5. God is always with us and has promised never to
leave us. As Psalm
139:8 says, whether we ascend to heaven or our bed seems
to be made in Sheol, we are still in God’s presence. He sees us,
hears us and is with us.
I don’t know how you feel about your relationship with
God right now. But I do know what God has promised. No matter what
you are facing, God is with you. Never forget that. You may think
you can’t make it, but by the grace of God you have made it
another day. He is with you. He is supporting you. Trust Him.
We can trust Him to deliver.
The entire psalm is about David’s faith that God will
deliver him from the hands of his enemies and from his suffering
and sorrow. Thus, God is his refuge (vs.
1), his rock and his fortress (vs.
3). Instead of running from God when times got bad, David
ran to God. He didn’t allow suffering to decrease His faith in
God, but increase it.
is the most important admission in this psalm, “My times are in
your hand” (ESV). David trusted God to deliver in God’s time.
Just because he prayed yesterday, but he was still suffering
today, He didn’t think God abandoned him. He knew his God. He
believed God knew his problems and cared about his problems. He
had faith that God would take care of the problems at the exact
moment that would be best. He didn’t expect God to work on his
Consider Jesus on the cross. How did everyone else view
what was going on? They saw Jesus as “smitten by God, and
53:4, ESV). They viewed Him as abandoned by God, as even
the enemy of God. Surely God wouldn’t let this happen to His Son
and Messiah. But Jesus trusted the Father’s plan and the
Father’s timing. He knew the Father would deliver Him when it
Again, I don’t know what you are facing. I don’t know
how hard it is. I do know this, if you love God, He is with you.
If you trust Him, He will deliver you on His timetable when it is
best. Trust Him to deliver you at the right moment, even if it is
not the precise moment you want. Take His hand, walk with Him,
lean on His support and accept His deliverance when He brings it.
Do not abandon Him before He delivers you.
Let us die with the same faith with which we lived.
I can’t help but notice that Jesus quoted this psalm just
before He died. He did not expect deliverance to come by being
taken off the cross. He did not expect deliverance to come by
having those who mocked Him wiped from the earth in the twinkling
of an eye. I think He recognized the deliverance He would receive
through death itself.
I guess this point stands out to me this week, having just
gone through the death of Marita’s father and attending the
funeral. I think of all the praying we did for God to deliver him
from his cancer. I think of what must have been going through his
mind as he felt his body grow weaker and must have known death was
approaching. I can’t imagine that. Then I think of all those I
have known who have faced death. Some, as it approached, acted as
if God was letting them down. We often talk about 11th
hour conversions of those who turn to God as they approach death.
But I have also seen 11th hour reversions. I have seen
folks turn their back on God as they were nearing the finish line
just because the finish line was coming quicker than they wanted.
They went back into the world and abandoned their faith. How sad.
Abandoning their faith didn’t save their life, but merely
condemned their souls.
On the other hand, I consider the examples of men like
Steve Bobbitt, Toby Crozier and others. I see Jesus on the cross
saying, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” and I realize, we
need to face death with the same faith we faced life. What good
will it do us to live by faith if we refuse to die by faith? Steve
Bobbitt and Toby Crozier were delivered from their cancer. Neither
of them have cancer now and as they rest at Abraham’s side (Luke
16:22), in the presence of Christ (Philippians
1:23) neither believe they have been cheated. Jesus, on
the cross, was delivered from His enemies. On that very day, He
was in paradise (Luke
23:43). Jesus faced not only suffering but even death with
the same faith He faced life. We can do the same. Death is not a
defeat for us; it is a victory. Death is not oppression for us; it
is freedom. Death is not a curse for us; it is a blessing. Let us
walk in Jesus’ footsteps and commit our spirit to the Father
even in the face of death.
Life is full of trouble. But God is always with us. God
will deliver us. Whatever you are facing, don’t let it turn you
from God. Rather, trust God and trust His timing. He will deliver
you, even it comes by delivering us from this life and leading us
on to the comfort of the next. Our God is an awesome God, let us
entrust our spirit into His hands no matter what we face.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ