Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

Why Is Human Life Precious?

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says something basic, yet profound. “People are extremely valuable.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You may love your pet, but I’m telling you, your pet is nothing compared to you. God has a unique affection for human beings—for men, for women, for His creation—that is different is different than anything He feels for any other created thing.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, January 19.

Earlier this week, we heard a story about the pain of abortion and the preciousness of life. We’re focused on the topic this week leading up to Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Today and tomorrow we’ll hear some messages that Nancy that will challenge each of us to ask: Am I really as pro-life as I claim to be?

Nancy originally prepared these messages as part of a series on the True Woman Manifesto. It’s a document that expresses the ideas of the True Woman Movement, and you’ll hear Nancy refer to that in her message. To read this document for yourself, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

We’ll begin with a poetic sermon written in 1927 by James Weldon Johnson. Singer Wintley Phipps recites part of the poem.

From the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
By the bank of the river 
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty 
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This Great God 
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till He shaped it in his own image;
Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul. 
Amen. 1

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, we just heard a creative rendering of one of the most poignant and important scenes in the whole Bible. That scene, the Creation, is the foundation. It’s the starting place for the next affirmation in the True Woman Manifesto. Here’s what it says.

We affirm that human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected
from the point of conception until rightful death.

The sanctity of life. If you’ve been around any length of time, you know that this is a great divide in our country on this very issue. You hear a lot of rhetoric, a lot of intense emotions, a lot of finger pointing around this point. It’s easy for those of us who consider ourselves pro-life to lob grenades at those who disagree with us.

I want to take some time to examine this matter from a biblical perspective, and perhaps in some ways we haven’t quite thought about before. In today’s program we want to look at why is human life so precious to God.

I want to give you five words today to wrap our thinking around. Five words to describe why God values human life, why it’s so precious to Him, and how human life is different from other life forms.

Here are the five words, then we’ll take one at a time. Creation. Reflection. Affection. Redemption. Intention.

These five words (creation, reflection, affection, redemption, intention) inform us how we view life. How we view human life, and how we treat it. So let’s pick up with the first one—creation.

Creation. Human life is precious. It’s to be valued and protected because it is God’s special creation. The piece we just heard is called, “The Creation” from God’s Trombones. That wonderful piece was written back in 1927 by James Weldon Johnson.

It describes the creation of the man and the woman that was distinct from the rest of creation. You see, when God created trees and plants and animals and fish and birds, He merely spoke them into existence. But when God made human life, He, so to speak (and I don’t mean this in any way disrespectfully), rolled up His sleeves and got His hands involved. He personally shaped and made and formed human life in a way that is different than the rest of creation.

Genesis chapter 2 describes this process for us. I know it’s a familiar passage, but sometimes we need to just go back to these passages and read them or hear them with new eyes, new ears, as if we were reading them for the first time. Genesis 2:7.

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, [you can just picture this] and the man became a living creature.

God shaped the man. He formed the man. He breathed into him, and the man became a living soul. Verse 21 goes on:

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made [he fashioned—the literal word is “he built”] into a woman (vv. 21-22).

It was a very personal, involved, engaged act of creation when it comes to the man and the woman. You see throughout Scripture, this emphasis on a personal God creating human beings.

“Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?” (Deut. 32:6)

“Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you.” (Isa. 44:2)

He is a personal God engaged in creating and in loving and in fathering and in helping His creation—human beings.

Now, it’s not surprising in all this that there is such a battle front when it comes to this whole issue of creation and evolution. That whole issue is not insignificant, because if we believe that humans evolved from lower forms of life, then life is ultimately meaningless—human life is meaningless. What we end up with is the “survival of the fittest.” This utilitarian view of life is where value of a creature depends on how healthy it is; how productive it is; how useful it is; what it can produce; how well it can function. This was the fundamental view of Nazism. Those who were considered less useful by the State ended up in concentration camps or gas chambers.

Even in our society today we see this move where it’s considered that those who are unable to function on their own or are considered unnecessary or a drain on the State or on their families or on society, you have more and more people saying those people have no right to live. Society, family, friends have a right, or maybe even an obligation, to end their lives. What we end up with in a national culture of death.

God thinks so differently. And many passages in the Scripture point this out. I think of that passage in Exodus chapter 4 where Moses is being conscripted by God into “duty.” And Moses is protesting, “I’m just not qualified for this job.” Moses says to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent [I’m not a speaker], neither in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (v. 10). “I stutter. There’s no way I can go speak to Pharaoh, and tell him ‘let My people go.’”

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Ex. 4:11).

You see, God says, “I have a purpose for the life of every human being I have created, in the way I have created him.” And some are not perfect as we would often define perfection. Some with what we would consider defects and flaws, but God has said, “I have made them. They are precious to Me.” God is the sovereign author and designer of life. That’s why He alone has the right to give and to take life.

But God has an enemy. Satan hates God, and he hates human beings who are made in the image of God. From the beginning of the human race, Satan has tried to devalue and destroy life, in so doing, to attack God.

Satan was behind the very first murder. First John tells us that Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son was “of the evil one, and he murdered his brother,” Abel (3:12). This was motivated by Satan himself. So Satan tries to steal life, to take it because he hates God.

But if we look at it from God’s perspective, God is the creator. Men and women are God’s special creation, and that’s why human life is precious. It’s to be valued, and it’s to be protected.

So the first word is creation.

Now the second word is reflectionMan was created to reflect the image of God. You’re familiar with the passage in Genesis chapter 1, verse 26. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This is the Trinity holding a council in heaven. And they say to each other, “Let us make man in our image.”

So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And god blessed them. (Gen. 1:27-28)

Unlike ladybugs and daffodils and geese and turtles, cute as we may think all these things are, man and woman, unlike all the rest of life, are created in the image of God, in the likeness of God, to reflect the glory of God. So human dignity and value and worth is not based on what we can produce or our achievements or our IQ or abilities or earning power or physical abilities or disabilities or how we measure up to others. Our dignity, our worth, our value is based on the fact that we were created in the image of God. By the way, that includes you.

Flawed and failing though you may see yourself to be, you were created to reflect the image of God. To devalue or harm human life is to devalue God. It’s to attempt to harm God Himself. God takes it personally when we devalue human life.

Creation. Reflection. And then, affection. The third word, affection.

Human beings are uniquely the object of God’s attention and affection. Don’t you love that passage in Psalm 8 that spells this out? The Psalmist says:

When I look at your heaven, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place [The implication is that those things are awesome; they’re amazing; they’re mind-boggling.] But what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? [Who are we?] Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly being [the angels] and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea. (Ps. 8:3-8)

Listen, you may love your pet, but I’m telling you, your pet is nothing compared to you. God has a unique affection for human beings—for men, for women, for His creation— that is different than what He thinks or feels about any other created thing.

We have switched the price tags on God’s creation. We devalue human life while elevating other created things. You see that contrast on the Sermon on the Mount. Remember that passage in Matthew chapter 6 where Jesus says:

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them [He cares for them; He takes care of them]. Are you not of more value than they? . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matt. 6:26-30)

You see God’s priorities, the value God places. Yes, He cares for birds. Yes, He cares for flowers. Yes, He robes them so they are beautifully dressed and adorned. But the way He cares about us is unique. It’s distinctive. God uniquely places His affection and attention on human beings. He cares for birds and flower. How much more does He care for us?

Throughout the gospels you see that tender, caring heart of Christ for people—not just wealthy people or smart people or people in big positions, VIPs. You see His heart for the poor, those who are weak, those who are disenfranchised, those who are needy, those who are oppressed, those who are children. It’s a reminder that if we want to be true followers of Christ, true women, then we will have the heart of Christ. We will have affection and care and compassion for those who no one else cares for or thinks very much of. Every life is precious to God. Every human life is distinctive from all other living things.

So we have creation, reflection, and affection. Human life is precious to God and is to be valued for these reasons. And then for a fourth and very important reason, redemption.

I won’t say much about that here except that it is just so obvious that Jesus did not come to this earth, leave the splendor of heaven, take on the form of a servant, and come and live for thirty-three years on this planet in order to die for slugs, or maple trees, or gold finches. He didn’t do it for them. He gave His life, He shed His blood, He died for lost, sinful, fallen, human souls. Does that say something about the value of human life? It’s precious because of redemption.

And then number five, human life is precious and to be valued and protected because of intentionGod was intentional about creating human life. He created us for His kingdom purposes. We were not a random thing that God just had as an afterthought. “I’ll think we’ll have something different.” God was intentional creating us. And He has a mission, a plan, a purpose for each human life.

The plan has been in place from eternity past, before we ever were, before we were ever conceived. God knew us. He designed us. We were created in His mind, in His heart in eternity past with a specific plan and purpose for our lives. Scripture tells us that.

I love that verse in Ephesians 2. It’s right after verses 8 and 9 that talk about “by grace you were saved through faith. . . . It is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” And then it says, verse 10, “For we are his workmanship.” God formed the man. God made the woman. He shapes; He built. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for [a purpose for] good works, which God prepared beforehand [before He even made us. He planned those works] that we should walk in them.”

Your life is not an accident. God put you here for a purpose. God said to Jeremiah in chapter 1, “Before I formed you in the womb.” Before anyone thought about you. Before there was a cell in your being. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (v. 5). God says, “I had a purpose for you. I had a design for your life.” Now God’s design for your life might not be to be a prophet to the nations, but it is something. God knows what it is, and it was designed for you before you were even born.

The apostle Paul recognized this. He says in Galatians 1, “God set me apart before I was born and called me by his grace” (v. 15).

There are some days when I would like to trade jobs with somebody else. You have the same thoughts. Some days I think I would just like to maybe not have so much pressure, have a different life, or maybe do something a little different. Then I’m reminded that before I was born, God called me. Before I was born, God set me apart. Before I was shaped in my mother’s womb, God called me by His grace. He designed, He prepared good works for me to walk in them.

I have no choice, in a sense. It’s a glad choice I make. But my choice is to say, “Yes, Lord. I surrender to what You have designed for my life. I realize that it’s important, it’s necessary that I fulfill that for which You created me.”

God has a purpose for every human life—even for those lives that some would consider useless. That ninety-two-year-old woman in the advances stages of Alzheimer’s, just hanging on, no clue of who anyone is or what’s going on. God has a purpose for her life every day that she is here on this earth. That child with severe disabilities, that baby born with multiple birth defects, that young adult child who is autistic, special needs children, adults who can’t care for themselves, that woman that I spoke with a few days ago who is in hospice care, dying of cancer, God has a plan for her life, for this moment, for these days, for this season.

If God is still granting this person breath and life, then there is still value in that life. That life is still precious whether that person, that child, that adult can contribute that way our society feels they should or not. Human life is precious to God.

For all of these reasons: creation, reflection, affection, redemption, and intention, human life is precious to God, and it’s to be valued and protected—through the whole span of life, from conception to the grave and everything in-between. And it’s every human life we are talking about. That means others’ lives and it means your life.

You may struggle with feelings of worthlessness as I find so many women do. Maybe there are more extreme issues that you are dealing with—issues of cutting, or eating disorders, thoughts of suicide. Can I just remind you that God created you. You are precious to Him. He created you for a purpose. He ordained every single day that is planned for your life—from your first breath to your final breath. He has a purpose for your life. So don’t despise what God prizes so highly.

Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for these reminders that we are precious to You, that the person sitting next to us is precious to You, every person living under our roof is precious to You, the person in the next cubicle is precious to You, the person that we are sitting by in the hospital is precious to You, that person who makes our life tough is precious to You. 

Human life is precious. It is to be valued, protected. Lord, help us to do that in ways that will bring great glory to You. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been describing the incredible value of life. Nancy continues this discussion tomorrow. I think many, many listeners will be convicted by the surprising twist Nancy takes on our next program.

That message originally aired as part of a series on the True Woman Manifesto. I hope you’ll get a copy of the Manifesto for yourself by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. When you read the documents online, you can add your name and support the important ideas it contains.

We’re focusing on one point from the True Woman Manifesto the point about life being precious to God because Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is coming this weekend.

For some listeners, the topic of abortion brings up painful memories because in the past they’ve chosen to end the life of their child.  Nancy is back to speak to any woman in that situation.

Nancy:  At Revive Our Hearts, we believe that everyone can be free from guilt and sin.  It’s right in our byline: “Calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.” That freedom includes taking the life of a pre-born child. The guilt of abortion. 

Because we want women to experience freedom from the guilt of abortion, we’re making a Bible study available by Sandy Day called Living in His Forgiveness. If you know the guilt of abortion, this study will show you how to be free, how to be forgiven, thanks to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

I want you to find that true freedom in Christ. Whether you're wrestling with this subject yourself, or perhaps you know someone else who is and you'd like to know how you can minister grace to them, we want to send you the study Living in His Forgiveness when you make a donation any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Just visit our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Many people who claim to be pro-life are not as pro-life as they might think. Nancy describes why tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

1 James Weldon Johnson, “God’s Trombones: The Creation”-- From The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume Two, Second Edition, 1053-1055. Reading by Wintley Phipps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-h4_VPXdoY&NR=1

 

 

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

Read More