For to Me, to Live is Christ and Die is Gain

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ISAIAH 57:15-59:21 | PHILIPPIANS 1:1-26 | PSALM 71:1-24 | PROVERBS 24:9-10

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Isaiah says of the Lord’s provision:  1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. And the Lord’s response is:  21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever.”

Turning now to our New Testament reading, we commence a new book called the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, also known simply as Philippians.  Paul opens his letter with the most gracious words—words that I would like anyone to say to me personally.  

Paul says:  3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul continues with these thoughtful words:  9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul is writing this letter imprisoned in Rome, and speaks of how his present condition of imprisonment has also become a reason for the furthering of the gospel of Christ. 

Then, he says:  Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 

And then, in perhaps one of his most beloved and oft-quoted lines, we have this declaration:  21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 

Would that every believer’s motto would be just that!

Turning next to our psalm for the day, we find David pouring out his heart before the Lord—like he does so very often.  David says:

1 In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

The confidence David has in the Lord’s ability to save him is worthy of emulation.  David says:

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.

Finally, two verses from the book of Proverbs, the latter being one of several “sayings,” authored by Solomon, the wise king of Israel:

9 The schemes of folly are sin,
and people detest a mocker.

10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
how small is your strength!

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

4 thoughts on “For to Me, to Live is Christ and Die is Gain

  1. I can imagine Paul reading this psalm from his prison cell in Rome. He seems to echo the psalmist’s trust in doing God’s work not only in spite of his current troubles but because of them, using his confinement and suffering for the greater mission. TFS.

    1. That is a good speculation. I’d like to echo Paul’s words in his letter to you today.

      Paul says: 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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