We all know the verse from Psalm 23, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Indeed, the psalmist did walk through it, because of his calling to be King, his own sins, just enemies in general.
The idea is that death is a shadow, it may dogging us, nipping at our heels, but with God or rather Jesus being sent by Him to be crucified for us, we don’t have to fear. People will tell you how they do not fear death or dying, I didn’t once because I did not how serious something was, thankfully, Jesus helped me through that. And yet, the time I came closest to it I was afraid, for myself and someone else.
I have since learned to confess the righteousness of God in order to activate the verse from Isaiah 54, that no weapon formed shall prosper, fear, terror and torment has no authority. I won’t say that I have no fear, it is much less, still something to resist, by submitting to God and the devil fleeing. All fear is from him, not God. Not common sense, wisdom or caution, not reasonable things to consider, worrisome, tiresome, unrelenting, inordinate fear, phobias. And most of it is learned, babies don’t like loud noises, being hungry, or left alone for too long. The rest is picked up from others, and even spirits who would derail your testimony.
Psalm 91 is another kind of shadow, this time we dwell in the shadow of the almighty. It is speaking of the mercy seat, which was between the two winged cherubim, where the glory of God came into the temple. The shadow fell on the tent in the sunlight as people praised outside, only the High Priest was allowed in.
Not the case today, Jesus pierced and rent body was the temple, He is the High Priest now and sits on the mercy seat of our heart as a believer. So you see why, He tells us not to let it be troubled or afraid, He is there.
So we are walking through the shadow of death, Jesus tasted it for us, giving us no reason to fear it, and even the ability to resist it, He has power over it, and gives us power as well, I realize many pass on, I have been touched by it, but believers have authority here, and sometimes He is merciful if they just are unable to overcome the disease or enemy. And it is not necessarily a lack of faith, just weariness in well doing and a desire to be with HIm.
Let’s look at Isaiah 38:8, although there is a parallel here, it appears to be talking about a sundial and degrees, but Hezekiah, who is about to die, wants some assurance he will live. So he wants the Lord to move the shadow back ten degrees, because he thinks that would be harder, than moving it forward. Indeed, it says the shadow of the sun, went back up ten steps on the stairs.
The Roman historian Josephus comments on this, apparently the sun dial is for time but the shadow falls on a staircase. Whatever the case, the shadow of the sun or death retreated and he lived another fifteen years, he was able to to more as king but also fathered a son who was a bad one. So the message would appear to be to make your life count when you are spared.
We walk through a fallen world and the spectre of death is there, more the grim reaper, than the Andrew character, from Touched by an Angel, still we can walk without fear for He is there and has defeated those awful spirits, death, hell, and the grave. Jesus is all about resurrection isn’t He?
I might add that Hezekiah mentions the the gates of hell, at that time, you may have passed them on the way to Paradise, which is where believers went, until Jesus was crucified. Remember, He told Peter the gates of hell would not prevail, because he was going to the cross, of course, people do go to hell who do not know Jesus or choose not to. But it was created for the devil and his minions. He also rebuked Peter because he did not want Him to go to the cross.
A believer who passes today might see spirits, but will be embraced by the Lord and escorted to heaven with angel wings, because their death is precious to Him. But please remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue, Proverbs 18:21, and Deuteronomy 28, tells us to choose life or death. Our words and faith matter, cancel those bitter, evil and cruel words spoken by others over you, even your diagnosis, according Isaiah 53, in Jesus name back that shadow off.
And while Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, not all death is from sin. Jesus bore sickness and disease, wore a crown of thorns for mental afflictions, was crushed for iniquities which are unjust things against us. There is such a deep covenant of love cut into the body of Christ literally, that the church as His body should not be overshadowed by so much oppression and death.
We have not begun to touch the hem of His garment, have we? He is such a great love, and some may like what Pope John Paul called the culture of death, it thrives on Halloween, and even year round, but for as long as I can, and as many as I can pray for, I choose life. And I want to live in the shadow of the Almighty, and rest in Him, and remember to fight, and also His mercy. Let’s pray and push back the shadow of death. Have a safe celebration on Halloween. Rebecca Jones / Alexander Krivitskiy Unsplash