"...the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." (Job 33:4)
"I'll not turn my back on Him now;
He's given me everything I have.
He gave me my first breath;
I'll give Him my last.
I'll not turn my back on Him now."
This was what the chorus said in the simple little song I heard The Inspirations, a Southern Gospel group, sing today. I'm not sure if it's old or new, but it was new to me. The words stirred my heart and my mind.
The word "breath" is found forty-two times in the King James Bible, eleven of them—the majority—in the book of Job. Coincidentally, that's what the song is about. It's a retelling of Job's answer to his (to my mind) hysterical wife, who urged him as he lay in ashes, scraping painful sores from his body, to "curse God and die." After calling her a fool and reminding her that he wasn't serving God for what he could get out of it, he went back to his scraping.
The songwriter was right when she said that God gave us our first breath, as the cited verse says. Conversely, both Job 27:3 and Psalm 104:29 seem to say that when our breath is gone completely, so is our life. After all, it was the breath of God in Adam that gave him life in the first place (Gen. 2: 7). In the meantime, however, you and I have the choice of what we will do with the intervening breaths.
The last verse in the Psalms insists that as long as we're breathing, we should be praising God. Everything we say need not be about Him, of course; but surely, everything we say should please Him. Since our redeemed souls still reside within sinful flesh, however, this isn't always the case. But the fact remains, when the majority of our speech is about everything but God and His Son, Jesus Christ, for all practical purposes, we're wasting our breaths.
I like the contention made by the writer that because God gave us our first breath, we owe him our last one. That's only reasonable. And since we can't be sure when our lungs will expand for the last time, we should be breathing in air and breathing out praise on a regular basis. I wonder; are we bringing glory to God or just wasting our breath?
"I'll love thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now!"
— Wm. R. Featherston