And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21
The bowhead whale would have had its first encounter with humans in the early 1880’s. It would not have been a pleasant meeting. A man would have raised a heavy gun and fired a projectile that was designed to explode after it had penetrated deep beneath the whale’s skin. The shot was designed to kill, but since it never hit a vital spot, the whale was only wounded.
A bowhead whale had its final encounter with humans last month off the coast of Alaska. This was also not a pleasant meeting. The man raised a heavy gun and fired a projectile that exploded after it penetrated deep into the whale’s blubber. The shot was designed to kill. It did. As the whale was being cut up, the shell from the first hunt was discovered. Its unique shape allowed historians to identify approximately when and where that shell had been made (sometime around 1870 near New Bedford, Massachusetts).
Last week, as I read the Associated Press story about the death of a 100-year-old whale that measured 49 feet and weighed 50 tons, I was confronted by the universality and finality of death. You may be able to escape it for a while, but eventually death is going to get you.
I’m not the first to think that kind of thought. When Adam and Eve started wearing the hides of the animals that had once been their companions in the Garden, they must have thought about death. They must have realized how their sin had brought death into this world. They must have thought how death was going to touch everything and everybody in the world, even bowhead whales in Alaska.
If all that sounds depressing, it was.
But for Christians, “depressing” doesn’t have the last say, does it? Because of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He has made for us, we know that death has been defeated. Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, we know that no grave can permanently hold God’s people. Because Jesus has redeemed us, we know that the time will come when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. And while that wonderful news may not have helped that bowhead whale, it means everything to us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks for Your victorious defeat of death and Your reassurance of life eternal. May all those who encounter me know that I am Your redeemed and forgiven child. May the encounter be a blessed one, one the Holy Spirit can use to point people to You. In Your Name, Amen.
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