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Shebna’s Grave

Today's Devotional

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Revelation 14:13

Irish poet W. B. Yeats wanted to be buried “Under Ben Bulben,” a stately flat-topped mountain after which he titled one of his last poems. The poem’s final line is etched onto his gravestone: “Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!”

Much speculation has taken place over what this means. Perhaps it’s the poet’s acknowledgment of the reality of both life and death. Regardless, Yeats got his wish about where he was buried and what his gravestone would say. But the cold truth is that life goes on without us, indifferent to our departure.

During a dire time in Judah’s history, Shebna, a “palace administrator,” made a tomb for himself to ensure his legacy after death. But God, through His prophet Isaiah, told him, “Who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock?” (Isaiah 22:16). The prophet told him, “[God] will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die” (v. 18).

Shebna had missed the point. What matters isn’t where we’re buried; what matters is who we serve. Those who serve Jesus have this immeasurable comfort: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13). We serve a God who’s never indifferent to our “departure.” He anticipates our arrival and welcomes us home!

What does your life say about who you’re serving? How do you want to be remembered?

Father in heaven, please help me live my life anticipating the time I’ll be with You in eternity.


Isaiah 22 contains a warning against Shebna, the palace administrator, because he believed he was self-sufficient (vv. 17-19). God said He’d replace him with someone who would rely on Him instead: “I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position. . . . I will summon my servant, Eliakim . . . . I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him” (vv. 19-21). When we meet these two individuals again, Eliakim is identified as the palace administrator and Shebna is called the secretary (36:3, 22; 37:2).

By |2024-06-11T02:34:50-04:00June 11th, 2024|
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