Words from the Heart for Friday February 10th, 2017
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
The Shadow of Death
The shepherd faithfully led the sheep through the pathways of greatest danger so they could find new pasture lands. Those “valleys of the shadow of death” would otherwise be a great risk. With the presence of the shepherd they could safely make it through. The Lord is committed to us. He will walk with us even in our valley of the shadow of death.
I recently came across a fascinating book titled “Canadian Churches and the First World War.” It speaks of what it was like for the young Canadian men who left the country with such naïve enthusiasm, but who soon found the reality of war as living in the valley of the shadow of death. The book says: “The unliveable had to be made purposeful. Religion thus had its place, both at home and overseas where Christian teaching, even if residual, played an important role in the soldier’s thinking. Canadian troops were not heartless killers, but paradoxically were ferocious fighters who also turned over their rations to needy civilians and refugees, tended enemy wounded and dying with rough tenderness and prayed fiercely or worshipped devotedly when the chips were down and no one was watching.”
A friend of ours is walking through the valley of the shadow of death … again. In the past few years she has buried her husband and two of her three sons. If anyone understands the excruciating pain found in that valley, she does. There is no more painful a place in the world. I don’t know how people who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ cope with such pain. If it painful for a follower of Jesus – and it is – how much more must it be for those without the assurance of eternal life and the experience of God’s abiding presence. King David understood what it was like to walk through that valley, and he certainly understood the pain that is there. That is why he includes Psalm 23:4 in the shepherd’s psalm. He begins by saying “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Then he goes on to say “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The modern translations begin the verse with the word “even.” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no death.” The Lord is my Shepherd. Because He is, not even in the valley of the shadow of death will I fear.” What a statement of faith, and a glorious truth.
These have been words from the heart.