by Andrew McQuitty

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How to Go Out Singing (17 of 17)
E. Andrew McQuitty


A. Words spoken near death are like the period that brings a person's life story to a close. That's why it's fascinating to hear what famous people's exit lines: they tell us not only how that person died, but in large measure how they lived. The French philosopher Francois Rabelais died with these cheerful words on his lips, Bring down the curtain--the farce is over! But Voltaire, that rabid French atheist, outdid Rabelais: I am abandoned by God and man! I shall go to hell! O Christ, O Jesus Christ! Thomas Paine, early American deist and rationalist went out lamenting, I would give worlds if I had them if The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone! Winston Churchill, the man whose leadership took England through the Battle of Britain said on his deathbed, I am convinced that there is no hope. Finally, Edgar Allen Poe ended his life of erratic lies and drunkenness at age 40 in 1849 with the words, Lord, help my poor soul.

B. All of these men went out lamenting, dying with regret as they surveyed the littered landscape of their past. How depressing! No wonder Woody Allen said, I don't fear death. I just don't want to be there when it happens! I don't know about you, but I don't want to go out crying. I want to go out singing like David did (22.47-51): The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock. . . therefore I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, among the nations, and I will sing praises to Thy name. What a contrast to these others! David's exit lines were a hymn of joy and praise to God. But how did David manage to go out singing? 2 Sam 22 (which is the same as Psalm 18) is David's swan-song of testimony to God's faithfulness in his life. In 51 verses, he describes three basic attitudes that enabled him not only die well, but to live well and to go out singing.

I. I will expect hard times in a Plan B world.


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