Psalm 116:15 15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants"
Psalms 116:1 - 19
ESV - 1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
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I would say that the verse is not indicating that the death of God's servants is a positive thing that He wants to happen (as humans might seek to multiply or increase the number of "precious" stones that they possess because of an avaricious desire for their value). Instead, it is saying that the death of even one believer is a thing of great consequence to Him that he never regards casually or in a disinterested manner. To me, the thought expressed is similar to Jesus' statement in Matthew 10:29, where He said that not even a single sparrow falls to the ground without God's knowledge and permissive will, and that God will therefore have even greater concern regarding the lives and deaths of His human followers, just as He loved them enough to sacrifice His only-begotten Son on their behalf.
We need to read this verse in context with the entire Psalm to understand its meaning. There are three themes running through this Psalm 116. The Fear of Death The Psalmist thought he was going to die v3 the cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me, I was overcome with distress and sorrow v10 I am greatly afflicted, everyone is a liar v16 he was in chains The Affirmation of Faith the Psalmist was a believer, an OT Saint v1 I love the Lord V2 I will call on him as long as I live v5-6 He knows the Lord is gracious, righteous, compassionate and protecting v7 He tells his soul to rest because the Lord has been good to him v10 I trusted in the Lord when I called for help v16 Truly I am your servant, Lord; i serve you just as my mother did v18 I will sacrifice a thank offering and fulfil my vows The Praise of Deliverance the Psalmist knew the Lord had delivered him v1 The Lord heard my voice, my cry for mercy v4 I called on the name of the Lord to save me v6 When I was brought low, he saved me v8 The Lord delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, so I could walk before the Lord in the land of the living v12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me v13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord v14 I will fulfil my vows in the presence of his people v17 I will sacrifice a thank offering v19 In the courts of the house of the Lord - Praise the Lord The Psalmist thought he was going to die. He trusted in the Lord and cried out for mercy and deliverance. But he knew that no matter what happened, if death was God's will, then he would still keep the faith, he would remain a faithful servant. The Psalmist understood how hard it was to keep the faith in the face of death, and he discovered how precious that kind of faith is to the Lord. Verse 15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his faithful servants". Jesus said: John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Revelation 6:9-11 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. The death of every OT Saint and Christian believer is precious to the Lord. Why, because we are willing to suffer for our faith and the word of our testimony, even to the point of death. We will be with Jesus forever.
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