Psalm 23:4 - Part Four

We've talked about our walk and the extent of our journey.  We've discussed the valley and its potential for spiritual growth.  Today, I want to focus on the shadow of death.  Well, actually, for the sake of time, I'll narrow it down to a look at the word "shadow."  We'll talk about death next time. (Can't wait for that, huh?)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. - Psalm 23:4a

Shadows can be creepy things, can't they?  Harmless, everyday items can cast the most menacing shadows.  A garment can become a goblin.  A cord, a mile-long snake.  A flower, some giant man-eating plant.  It's silly, and no doubt many of us have had a good laugh at our own expense upon discovering the source of a disconcerting shadow.  Nevertheless, shadows have the ability to strike fear into our hearts.  They evoke panic.  They cause the pulse to quicken and our breath to catch.  But I have a few things to share with you about the shadows of life that might help alleviate some of that anxiety.

First off, shadows cannot harm us (unless you happen to be Peter Pan).  They have no substance.  They are merely imperfect reflections of something else.  While they may appear frightening or larger-than-life, the truth is that there's nothing to them.  They can do us no harm, much like the many things we worry about in life.  And notice, they are imperfect reflections.  They skew our perception.  Molehills become mountains.  Inconveniences become crises.  Concern turns to worry.  All because of a shadow that should have no power over us whatsoever.

Second, a shadow cannot exist without light.  The very definition of a shadow is this:  "the rough image cast by an object blocking rays of illumination."  Illumination.  Light.  No light, no shadow.  Without the light, there is only darkness.  With the light, there may sometimes be shadows, but instead of dwelling on the shadows, how about we look to the Light.  The shadows don't have to be a bad thing.  Instead, they should serve as the reminder that God is with us.  We are never alone.  Not on the mountain.  Not in the valley.  God is the light, and He is ever present.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. - John 9:5

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. - I John 1:5

Did you know that the phrase "shadow of death" occurs 19 times in the Bible?  Interesting, huh?  Yes, evidently David was not the only one familiar with a day of facing shadows.  It seems he was not the only one who felt the pressures surrounding him.  I would love to share each of the verses containing that phrase with you, but I simply don't have the time or space.  I will, however, share with you my favorite.  I absolutely love this verse, and it goes right along with today's lesson.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. - Isaiah 9:2

Don't fear the shadows.  Look to the Light.  Place Him between you and your problems, and the shadows will disappear.  Remember, a shadow is cast by an object blocking the rays of illumination.  That object is your problem.  It is currently between you and the Lord, casting deep, dark shadows in your life.  Put it in its proper place, and do not allow it to block the rays of illumination. Give God His proper place.

Focus on the Light!