The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Death so ominous so overwhelming. Death is often viewed as the opposite of Life and yet what if death was not the opposite of life but simply a part of the process through which life finds greater and greater expression.
Is Darkness the absences of Light or simply the absence of the expression of Light. I guess it all depends on how we might view Light. When we view it through our natural eyes it is something that emanates from the sun or a light bulb. If we see Light as Jesus Christ, the Light of the world – Light
then is understood to be an internal reality and not simply an external expression.
These two words and concepts make up a part of one of the most famous Psalms. That being Psalms 23.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
In life, we have Mountain top experiences, Mountain climbing experiences, wilderness experiences and even green pasture experiences. A Valley is low places on this earth and it is in the valley sometimes that we must walk. I don’t want to talk about just any valley – I want to share about a particular valley – one that is referred to as the valley of the shadow of death.
a definite area of shade cast upon a surface by a body intercepting the light rays
the dark image made by such a body
the growing darkness after sunset
a mirrored image; reflection
- something without reality or substance; imaginary vision
In order for a shadow to exist it needs two things – One is light rays; the other something that can be in the way or obstruct the light rays.
This valley of the shadow is a low place on this earth where light is obstructed and it is here that we find one walking. In this particular valley of shadow, the obstruction of light is not unknown. The obstruction or object that keeps the light rays from illuminating this valley is called death. It is Death that lies between the one in the valley and the rays of light. It is in this shadow of death that one in this particular valley finds himself walking in. So, what then is this death that stands between the one walking and the light?
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (KJV)
Death was first stated as the result of eating from Disobeying God and eating from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
To take in the knowledge of good and evil is to take into oneself death. It is in the knowing of good and evil that the “thing” or object is produced that stands in between the one on the path and the light.
The thing that stands in the way of knowing the Lord is the knowledge of good and evil. How can knowing good and evil be the thing that stands in the way of knowing the Lord?
In having the knowledge of good and evil, man became “like God” (Gen.3:22). In other words they have taken the place or responsibility of God and become a judge unto themselves. It is man who now assess what is good and what is evil. Man is no longer dependent on the Lord as judge.
Lets look at Jesus words to the rich young ruler –
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. Mk.10:17-18
Is Jesus saying that he is not good or that he is not the same as the Father? Or is Jesus making a comment about the Rich Ruler’s role as Judge of the “GOOD” Jesus. Who is to determine what is Good and what is Evil – Is this man’s part or is this the Father’s place?
In knowing Good and Evil I am then able to determine for myself what is right and what is wrong. I do not have to depend on a relationship with the Lord and his judgments. I have the ability to judge for myself. It is this very mindset that has become a hindrance to knowing the Lord.
Prov.3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
How much does our knowledge of good and evil cause us to lean on our own understanding instead of trusting the Lord with all our heart? Dependence on our knowledge of Good and Evil is independence from God. Jesus spoke a lot about his complete and utter dependence on the Father for everything.
John 12:44-50 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him;the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
I Will Fear No Evil
What does it mean to fear no evil? What is the opposite to fear? Love, what power does Love have over fear and evil? There is no fear in Love – There is no fear in God. If we have come to a place of accepting and believing in Jesus Christ as our All we will have no fear of punishment because we no longer live by the knowledge of Good and Evil also known as Death. We live by the Life; the knowing of the Father. This we call the life of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus Christ is a life knowing the Father.
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
The Fear of Punishment
There are times when the one passing through the valley of the shadow of death thinks that what is happening is a punishment from God. He has come to believe that God is punishing him for his evil actions or thoughts. This though in and of itself is “A fear of evil” We fear evil because we fear God’s response or punishment of the evil. When one plays with fire he can expect to be burned. But when one plays with fire he should not be expecting God to burn him because he is playing with fire. What I am saying is disease, misfortune, accidents are a part of this world and they happen because of man not because of a wrathful God who is out for payback. This type of thinking comes from one thing “Not knowing the Father.” One may have studied a lot about God and even be versed in God’s laws, but these are not the same as spending time with the Father.
The Ministry of Death
Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth makes reference to the “Ministry of Death.” The written law about good and evil was the ministry of death.
2 Cor.3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
Now the glory on Moses face did not come from beholding the law – it came from spending time with and beholding the Lord.
2Cor.3:14-16 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Reading the old covenant is a dead activity – To read and learn of good and evil is part of the death process. It does have its way of bringing us to the valley of the shadow of death – The veil is what obstructs the light the veil is called death it is from this that we turn away from a mindset on right and wrong/good and evil. Turning to the Lord is what frees us and brings us up from death into New Life. It is only in turning to the Lord that we can experience Life, Liberty and Transformation.
Death on the Cross
It is Jesus who defeated death or should I say death’s power over us. It is the fear of punishment after death that was defeated that day. You see at the death of Jesus the veil was taken away – man now has direct access to the Father who has been made known to Him in his heart. It was not at his resurrection that the veil was split – it was at his death. The old way was over at Jesus death on the cross!
Mark 15:37-38 And Jesus cried out a loud cry and expired. And the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom.
The final judgment of sin was dealt – The new covenant was established (Heb.10:15-17) I will impart my law upon their hearts and minds – What is the law of Jesus Christ? Love And who is Love? God the Father. Jesus gave us everything that was given to Him – That everything is Our Father!
The remnants of death’s way that remain in our mind and thoughts are just that – remnants. They have no real power over us. We have been set free and have clear and direct access to our Father. We go to him without any fear of punishment. There are times when those remnants of death’s way reveal themselves (in false beliefs) and veil our access to the Father. They veil us by judging good and evil in our actions and deeming us unworthy to stand before a Holy God. It is in these times that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. As we walk toward the veiled light we by faith declare what we have seen and heard. We declare the truth of who Jesus says we are until we pass through the powerless veil called death. (I am not speaking of a death that ends the life of our physical body) It is here, beyond the veil and shadows that our faith is made real in the actual presences of the Father. It is here that we come face to face with our Father and we are transformed into His very image. It is here with our Father that a table has been prepared and we sit and look at our great enemy the powerless veil of our old false belief’s. Now that’s a feast with a lot of laughing!
This entry was posted on April 24, 2009 by Eclectic Mind. It was filed under Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Uncategorized, Wise Sayings .