Famous Last Words - The One Year Book of Psalms

Famous Last Words

Psalm 118:10-18

10Though hostile nations surrounded me,

I destroyed them all in the name of the LORD.

11Yes, they surrounded and attacked me,

but I destroyed them all in the name of the LORD.

12They swarmed around me like bees;

they blazed against me like a roaring flame.

But I destroyed them all in the name of the LORD.

13You did your best to kill me, O my enemy,

but the LORD helped me.

14The LORD is my strength and my song;

he has become my victory.

15Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.

The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!

16The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph.

The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!

17I will not die, but I will live

to tell what the LORD has done.

18The LORD has punished me severely,

but he has not handed me over to death.

John Wycliffe lay dying in Lutterworth, England. The year was 1384, and most of his influential friends in church and state had deserted him. Many thought he had gone too far.

For one thing, Wycliffe had dared to translate the Bible into English. He also urged a separation of church and state in order to reform the church. He attacked the corruption and the abuses of power that he observed—particularly among the friars. But most of all he preached that the Bible should be made available in every language.

It sounded like heresy, and since Wycliffe was now at the point of death, some felt he should reconsider his statements. So four friars and four senators crowded into his bedroom. They spoke sternly to him, reminding him of all he had advocated. Now was the time to confess the error of his ways.

Wycliffe was surprisingly alert. He asked if he could be raised in his bed so he could speak more clearly. Then he summoned all his remaining strength to quote Psalm 118:17, or at least part of it: “I will not die, but I will live, and will again declare the evil deeds of the friars.”

Wycliffe died, but his message and work lived on. English Bible available to the common people. People die, but what they have begun is not halted by death. The trail they have left behind them goes on ahead of them.

Shrink not, Christian, will you yield?

Will you quit the painful field?

Will you flee in danger’s hour?

Don’t you know your Captain’s power?

Oft in danger, oft in woe,

Onward, Christian, onward go.


For other bees (verse 12) in the Bible, look up Deuteronomy 1:44. To read about hornets, turn to Exodus 23:28.

“Good songs, good promises, good proverbs, and good doctrines are none the worse for age. What was sung just after the passage of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:2) is here sung again and shall be sung to the end of the world by the saints of the Most High.”


From the Book:

The One Year Book of Psalms cover image

The One Year Book of Psalms
By William Petersen, Randy Petersen, and Tyndale

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