Famous Last Words

Have you ever wondered what people said the moment they knew that death was imminent? I am curious about that. According to Business Insider, these are some examples of famous people’s last words:

Nostradamus predicted, “Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” He was right. Joe Dimagio said, ”I finally get to see Marilyn again.” (Referring to his beloved ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe.) Winston Churchill’s son-in-law offered him a glass of champagne, and Churchill replied, ”I’m just so bored with it all.” And finally, former Beetle George Harrison: ”Love one another.” That will preach, George.

Today’s Scripture takes a look at the last words of King David, as recorded in 2 Samuel:

2 Samuel 23 (Common English Bible)

23 These are David’s last words:

This is the declaration of Jesse’s son David,
    the declaration of a man raised high,
    a man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    a man favored by the strong one of Israel.

The Lord’s spirit speaks through me;
    his word is on my tongue.
Israel’s God has spoken,
    Israel’s rock said to me:
“Whoever rules rightly over people,
    whoever rules in the fear of God,
    is like the light of sunrise
    on a morning with no clouds,
        like the bright gleam after the rain
        that brings grass from the ground.”

David made many mistakes in his life, and yet at the end, he was reconciled to God. His words about ”ruling rightly” were hard fought and hard won. He learned through his errors what it meant to rule rightly. As he was looking toward the next generations of leaders, he likened them to the light of the sunrise and the bright gleam after the rain … as long as they were ruling in the fear of God. Listen now to his words of appreciation and the acknowledgement of God’s faithfulness in keeping his part of the covenant, even when David had failed:

Yes, my house is this way with God!
    He has made an eternal covenant with me,
    laid out and secure in every detail.
Yes, he provides every one of my victories
    and brings my every desire to pass.

David lived a turbulent life, but he died in the peaceful security of the eternal covenant God had made with him. He relished the security he found in his restored relationship with God, and credits God with every good thing that happened in his life. Then he ends with a warning, perhaps one born of his own experience of thorniness:


But despicable people are like thorns,
    all of them good for nothing,
    because they can’t be carried by hand.
No one can touch them,
except with iron bar or the shaft of a spear.
    They must be burned up with fire right on the spot!

If David can be redeemed, so can we. If David can be restored, so can we. If David can die with gratitude and security, so can we.

Have you grown thorny? It is never too late to return to your eternal covenant with God. If a despicable, adulterous murderer can come back to God, so can we. Thanks be to God!

Last Road Home by Nancy Barniskis

Wholeheartedly

Can you name something that you love with your whole heart? Something you love unreservedly, unconditionally, with no-holds-barred? My spouse, my daughters, their husbands (my girls married UP!) and my grandchildren fit into that category for me. Oh, and my dog, even at her orneriest. Wholehearted love is easy to feel for these special people in my life. (The dog thinks she’s a person. Who am I to argue?)

Psalm 111 is a joyous celebration of wholehearted love for the Lord. It was written as an acrostic psalm, which means that each line begins with a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, written in order. It is paired with psalm 112 (also an acrostic psalm) which extols the virtue of the godly person. But today’s passage extols the virtue of a majestic and magnificent God:

Psalm 111 (Common English Bible)

Praise the Lord!
    I thank the Lord with all my heart
    in the company of those who do right, in the congregation.

When the psalmist says that he thanks the Lord with ALL his heart, it is a reminder to us that we cannot love God with a divided heart. We can’t worship God and worship little gods such as privilege, wealth, prosperity, status, or fame. We can’t love God and hate his people. We can’t preach the Gospel and post hateful memes. Divided hearts are not what the Lord desires.


The works of the Lord are magnificent;
    they are treasured by all who desire them.
God’s deeds are majestic and glorious.
    God’s righteousness stands forever.

Johannes Kepler was a 17th Century German astronomer who studied the works of the Lord. Kepler discovered the three laws of planetary motion, changing the way we understood the nature of earth, the sun, orbits, and the universe. Against great opposition, he celebrated God’s magnificent works through a telescope and brought meaning and understanding to the science community. All of his observations were credited back to God:

“It is a right, yes a duty, to search in cautious manner for the numbers, sizes, and weights, the norms for everything God has created. For He himself has let man take part in the knowledge of these things … For these secrets are not of the kind whose research should be forbidden; rather they are set before our eyes like a mirror so that by examining them we observe to some extent the goodness and wisdom of the Creator.”  (From Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World)

Kepler was a scientist who treasured all the works of the Lord, and he didn’t allow the conventional wisdom of the time stop him from his research and exploration. His work proves that faith and science can coexist in harmony when the scientist loves God wholeheartedly.


God is famous for his wondrous works.
    The Lord is full of mercy and compassion.
God gives food to those who honor him.
    God remembers his covenant forever.
God proclaimed his powerful deeds to his people
    and gave them what had belonged to other nations.

In addition to the stars and the planets, God’s wondrous works include mercy and compassion. When we love God with our whole heart, these things should be our work, too. His handiwork is honesty and justice: those who love the Lord pursue these things as well. Where is God calling you to be an advocate of mercy, compassion, honesty, and justice?


God’s handiwork is honesty and justice;
    all God’s rules are trustworthy—
        they are established always and forever:
        they are fulfilled with truth and right doing.
God sent redemption for his people;
    God commanded that his covenant last forever.
        Holy and awesome is God’s name!

Today is a good day to reflect on your covenant relationship with God. If you say you love him wholeheartedly, do your words, deeds, thoughts, actions, and posts reflect that? Wisdom begins with a reverential trust of the covenant. Keeping God’s laws brings knowledge and redemption. God always does his part in keeping the covenant…are you doing yours?


10 Fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins;
    sure knowledge is for all who keep God’s laws.
        God’s praise lasts forever!

The Works of the Lord are Magnificient by Michelle Robertson