Nate Dogg

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nate Dogg was known for his monotone, melodious, and stern voice, often bringing a unique intensity to rap songs. Nate Dogg had a stroke in 2008 and died two days ago, March 14th. I spent some time this morning listening to some of Nate’s tracks and I was struck with two things.

First, when listening to 21 Questions, by 50 Cent, Nate Dogg’s refrain goes like this:

Girl…It’s easy to love me now
Would you love me if I was down and out?
Would you still have love for me?
Girl…It’s easy to love me now (Woo!)
Would you love me if I was down and out?
Would you still have love for me?
Girl…

What’s striking is that I have rarely met anyone with that kind of love and dedication. People desert people when they are down and out. People don’t want anything to do with lawbreakers. I know because I have been there. I lied, cheated, and stole and was rightfully punished for it. But few were remained close. Now, I understand why and I couldn’t say for certain that I wouldn’t have done this same thing.

The reality is when we commit the kinds of crimes that I did, or the more garden-variety Gangsta crimes, our crimes are not just against victims, friends, family, the State, or even ourselves, our crimes are first and foremost against a Holy God (Psalm 51:4). But God goes further than Nate Dogg does in this 50 Cent refrain, God doesn’t just love us when we are down and out, He becomes a man, Jesus Christ, lives the life we could never live and dies the death we deserve to die. He assumes our flesh and becomes a man, but he perfectly obeys the law of God, he never breaks it. Yet still at the end of his life he is rejected, he is the ultimate one who is down and out, he experiences the worst possible kind of rejection, while on the cross he is rejected by God “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). He is rejected in our place, we deserve to be rejected by God forever, but God shows his great love for us by being rejected for us, so that we might be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven.

The second observation from reflecting on Nate Dogg is that the Gangsta lifestyle that he evangelizes with is the source of his own death. The sin that promises joy and life leads to the grave. 41 years-old. But that’s how all sin is, to paraphrase the Puritan Thomas Brooks, Satan knows that if he would present sin in its own nature and dress, we would run from it rather than indulge in it. Therefore he presents sin to us, not in its own proper colors but he paints a false veneer over it with the name and show of something virtuous, or worth having, or promising pleasure or happiness or satisfaction.  Satan does this so that we may the more easily be overcome by it, and take the more pleasure in committing of it. Pride, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness. Covetousness he presents as ambition and drive. Partying is presented as having a good time.

Sin kills. It killed Nate Dogg and it will kill everyone else. But death doesn’t have the decisive word, Jesus Christ conquered sin, Satan, and death when he rose from the grave giving us the opportunity to spend all eternity in his presence.

Our only hope in life and death is if we belong body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watched over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven. In fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him. – Heidelberg Catechism

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