‘Lord, don’t let me die as a wicked old man!’

I’ve never managed to track down the legendary saint said to have prayed this daily.

* Balaam prayed it once – but insincerely
Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his! (Numbers 23: 10)

Despite the fact that he delivered some genuine prophecies in favour of Israel, he was
essentially a foreign practitioner of divination (Joshua l3:22). After spelling out his
astounding oracles, this ‘son of Beor’ then induced the men of Israel to engage in a
massive sex binge with Moabite maidens (Numbers 23:1-29; 24:1-25; 25:1-9; 31:16).

* Samson meant it – when he prayed it eventually
The book of Judges presents us with saviours of God’s people, some with serious
character flaws. Take Samson, for instance. His personal dalliance with a Philistine
female espionage agent resulted in his humiliating capture into a retirement of blind
drudgery (Judges 16:4-21).

When the Philistines wanted a good laugh during their religious festival, they paraded
him publicly to mock his weakness. I imagine him as a relatively scrawny man; surely
Delilah would not have asked repeatedly ‘where his great strength lay (Judges 16:5-6, 13, 15)
while gazing on a Mr Universe physique!

And what a prayer of faith he voiced aloud as his grand finale:
Then Samson called to the Lord and said O Lord God please remember me
and please strengthen me only this once, O God that I may be avenged on the
Philistines for my two eyes ”’ (Judges 16:28).

Pushing apart [I reckon] the two middle pillars supporting the root, crowded with 3000
revellers, he prayed something every disciple of Christ should pray daily: ‘Let me die
(Judges 16:30; compare Romans 6:1 1; Galatians 2:20) ~ and triumphantly he brought the
house down and had the last laugh:
            ‘So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had
killed during his life (Judges 16:30).

* Gideon should have prayed it – regularly
I’ve admired Gideon all my life, but after reading Judges 6:1-40 7:1.25 8:1.35 again, I’ve
taken his picture off my mental wall. Although he refused to become a war hero-king, he
didn’t handle celebrity status well:
[] Hed tested God (Judges 6:39; compare Judges 2:22; 3: 1; Deuteronomy 6: 16).
[] He made a religious war memorial that led to national idolatry (Judges 8:22-27).
[] Hed named his son Abimelech, my father is king , who became a tyrant (Judges 9:1-57).
[] Hed initiated an unnecessary second military campaign in which YHWH seems to
play no part (Judges 8:4-21), unlike his former crusade featuring YHWH continually (Judges 7:1  8:13).

Let’s all pray daily: Lord, dont let me die as a spiritual has been.

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