There is an old joke about life and death that goes something like this, “the thing about life is that nobody gets out of it alive”. Whether you live to 100 or die much younger, death ultimately awaits all of us. But for believers we can take great comfort that when we die here on this earth, we will open our eyes in the presence of the Lord. That is not true of everyone who dies. In fact, most who die will end up in hell, separated from God in eternity by their own choice to be separated from Him in this earthly life. We should take great care not to “hide” from thinking about death, but rather to make sure we are prepared. How much time might we typically spend thinking about retirement, which lasts at best a handful of decades… how much more should we consider eternity! So, too, we do well to learn how to deal with the death of those we love or care about that may perish before we do.
Let’s take a bit of a look at the death of Miriam, Moses’ sister, in Numbers 20 and see if there is something to consider for ourselves in it regarding dealing with death. Though she was prominent in amongst her people, not much is said about her death. It is just one verse, probably easily read over without much thought as we typically read quickly through the biblical text.
Death of Miriam
1Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.
As little as is said, I find it interesting to note that the fact that she was buried there was important enough to mention. It would appear that was significant to the people and to God for it to be included. I do observe that, like with the death of Jesus, burial as a means of laying the body to rest is highlighted. This is still a consistent cultural norm amongst people today relative to other practices of cremation and such. I think this does seem consistent with reinforcing the idea that there will be a resurrection for believers, but would have to study this in more detail to pull that thread more. In the meanwhile, I do find myself more encouraged to stick with burial and not get distracted with “options” which came about through other false belief systems or following of false gods.
What I do see as relevant as well is that The people do not carry her remains about with them, despite her being a prominent figure. What is left is just her dead body, not her soul. They were moving on. The inherently recognize they do not need to carry her remains to “keep her close” or “visit her gravesite”. Her body no longer contains her soul. It just needs a place to be “put to rest” so to speak. There is no need to keep visiting the empty shell and decaying physical form of someone after they die and are buried. They are not there. If a believer, they are now with Christ. If they rejected Christ or did not fully accept Him as savior and Lord, then they are now eternally separated from Him in hell… as a result of their own choice in life to be separate from Him. Keep your eyes focused on Christ and not the physical remains.
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.