Bible Ballistics: BBs #319 The Shadow Of Death???
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures:
he leadeth me
beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
and thy staff
they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4
That tiny baby in the manger was and IS the Good Shepherd as well as the sacrificial Lamb of God who came that we might have life—abundant life here on Planet Earth, as well as eternal life with Him beyond death. But that child whose coming we celebrate at this time of year knew that HE had come to die for us.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Jesus knew what He was coming to do and that was to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” for those who would believe in Him. He tried to prepare his disciples for what was coming, but how could they comprehend this amazing love of God that would send “His only begotten Son” to the cross? Yet Jesus wanted them to know before hand, and He knew that they would come to understand that He came for that purpose, dying for all who would believe the message about Him, the Gospel that they would spread throughout the world!
“ And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” Matthew 20:17-19
God had prophesied all of this long before it came to pass, and Psalm 22 is one of the most amazing of these prophecies. (Read the entire Psalm today if you haven’t!)
“Many bulls have compassed me:
strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me with their mouths,
as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax;
it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd;
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws;
and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me:
the assembly of the wicked
have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones:
they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them,
and cast lots upon my vesture.” Psalm 22:12-17
And just as God was faithful to keep His word regarding the first coming of the Messiah, He will certainly keep His Word about His second coming—His return as the victorious King not the suffering servant. Jesus is coming again for His own and to set up HIS kingdom. He went through that “valley of the shadow of death” for us but HE didn’t remain in the tomb, He arose from the dead and overcame sin, death and hell for all who will believe in Him, and He is coming for His own. (See 1 John 4:4 & 5:4)
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again,
and receive you unto myself;
that where I am,
there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know,
and the way ye know.” John 14:1-4
And because of what Jesus has done for the world, we can face that “shadow of death” without fear of any evil, just as He did. But this is only true for those who belong to Jesus. While we live in a culture of death, it breaks my heart that those who promote that culture are doomed for death and hell with no hope apart from Jesus. So we must be faithful to proclaim the hope, love and life that Jesus died to give to all who will believe, knowing that those who belong to Him need not fear death (Or ignore it.) for Jesus is interceding for us always (See Heb. 7:25), and He promises to walk with us through the valleys, trials and victories– “We Win”!
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
The choices we make about Jesus have eternal consequences–either heaven or hell. And Jesus and His Word will be the standard, not man’s opinions. Are you ready to walk through that “valley”? You can walk with the Only One who turns that “shadow of death” into life, who bought forgiveness and life with His own blood. Or you can walk alone, and face Him as your judge, rather than your advocate! The choice is yours but it’s an eternal choice!!
“For the word of God is quick,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder
and of the joints
and is a discerner
of the thoughts
of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature
that is not manifest
in his sight:
but all things are naked
unto the eyes of him
with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13