Facing the Shadow
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4
This morning, I am looking out of my office window, and the position of the sun is causing the trees outside to cast their shadow. The shadow is a darkened outline of the tree, but it is not the tree. The shadow gives us an idea of the image. This morning, we are considering the term, “The shadow of death.” It is a term used 19 times in the Bible to refer to the nearness of death. This morning, we are looking at how our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, lovingly helps His children face the end of things with a spirit of victory.
We see the approaching CLOSURE.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” A valley in the Bible is symbolic of trials and suffering. David refers to walking in the valley of the shadow of death. This speaks of the inevitability of death. “It is appointed unto men once to die” All of us will die one day. To an unbeliever, death is the gateway to an eternity of suffering and torment in hell. For a believer, death is the gateway to eternity in heaven and in the presence of the Lord. Paul said to die is gain for a believer. Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The valley of the shadow of death is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. For the believer, it is not the end, but a beginning. It still is a valley and it is in the shadow we will walk one day.
We see the allegiant CLOSENESS.
“For thou art with me.” For every believer in Christ we have the great assurance of the Lord’s presence with us as we walk through this valley. As difficult and frightening the valley of the shadow of death is, no Christian ever walks it alone. In fact, there is no valley we go through where the Lord is not with us. His presence gives us strength. His presence gives us confidence. His presence enables us to keep going even though the shadow is foreboding and frightening. When we walk this valley, His closeness makes the flowers smell more fragrant. When we walk this valley, His presence makes the relationships in life much more precious. When we walk this valley, His presence gives us the encouragement we need for each day.
We see the appealing COMFORT.
“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” David realized the Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, accompanied him through the valley with the shepherd’s rod and staff. The rod let the enemy lurking in the shadow know that He protects us. The staff lets us know He does not allow us to walk without Him. We can be comforted to know the Lord fights our battles, encourages our hearts, and makes His face to shine upon us as we walk the final journey. The rod and staff give us our peace and quietness of soul as we pass each bend and the journey becomes a little more difficult.
We see the absolute CONVICTION.
“I will fear no evil.” In effect, our Lord bolsters our resolve so that no evil will hamper or harm us. We can walk this valley and not be afraid of the doctor’s report, the weakening of our bodies, the thought of leaving our loved ones behind and the fear of the unknown. No evil can withstand a holy faith walking next to our Lord as the end of the journey is nearing. What a victorious spirit is evident when a Christian approaches life’s end and can say like David, “I will fear no evil!”
This morning, we are reminded that we start the Christian life in victory, and it is certain we can end it the same way. Be comforted and convicted that the valley of the shadow can be an opportunity for a victory in the Spirit.
Have a victorious God Morning!