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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 1, 2024

 Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: I Samuel 18-20


I Samuel 20:3

And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.


There always was. There was always a step between David’s life and his death. When he fought with the lion and bear the threshold of death was there. When he faced Goliath, death certainly desired to have him. Fighting against the Philistines, dodging Saul’s javelin, even in fleeing to Samuel in Ramah and to Naioth death was close at hand. David’s life, filled with adventure and victory, but at every turn, death stalked him. It finally occurred to this future king of Israel that he was not invincible. He said …there is but a step between me and death.


This is everyone’s reality. In Dr. John R. Rice’s book “Fifty Years of Soul Stirring Illustrations” he wrote “I preached in Chattanooga at the big Highland Park Baptist Church to some 3,400 or 3,500 people on Missing God’s Last Plane for Heaven. I took my text Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. I said everybody there was going to die. I said, Three thousand four hundred people will die, we will say, in 70 years. That will mean that every nine days somebody who hears me tonight will die. Oh, it may go ten days or maybe eight days, but it will average that now for the next seventy years somebody of this congregation will die every nine days. That night they announced ten funerals going to be in that church that week.  I am just saying death comes;…”


There was a time when preachers preached with urgency pressing individuals to make arrangements for that time called death. They pressed upon those to whom they preached to make a decision immediately for they knew time was short for some. Just as Paul wrote to that church in Corinth, …behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:2). Why? Because there is but a step between me and death.


In the same book Dr. Rice tells the story of Rev. P.B. Chenault. He was preaching in a series of meetings and on the last night he preached “Today and Tomorrow.”  He pressed home the fact that no one knows when they will die so preparations must be made now, tonight, immediately. That night while driving to another preaching meeting a drunk driver hit the preacher’s car; he died at the scene. He never knew that was to be his last message, but on that night so long ago the faithful preacher took that last step into eternity.


David realized he was one step away from death. Every time we start our cars and engage the motor to hurl down the road, it may be a road to death. Each moment of walking down a sidewalk may be that exact time that God calls our name to come to Him. Every night we lay our heads on our pillow may bring an awakening into eternity. May we learn as David did and order our steps properly. If you never have, trust Christ’s gospel: His perfect life, sacrificial death on the cross, burial in finality, yet coming back to life three days later. That is the good news! If that great transaction has already been made in your life, live for him every moment of every day. For today may be the day of your last step on earth. After all, for every person, there is but a step between life and death.


Dr. William T. Howe

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