Greetings Friends, here is some inspiration I stumbled onto as a result of this week’s Valentine prayer. I hope my intro is somewhat clear!
David made a statement in Psalm 23 that is not translated consistently in most Scripture versions. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death …” There seems to be a lack of clarity in understanding what the Shadow of Death is. Most versions (and commentators / preachers) suggest this Shadow is a dark valley that we enter in the few moments before death! The Hebraic Roots Bible and KJV open the possibility that the Shadow of Death needs to be recognized as something dramatically different.
Psalm 23:4 is the only verse that most people know about, but there are actually twenty passages where this phenomena is identified. Shadow of Death is individualized as a person; localized as a place; expressed as a structure. The Shadow of Death is a creature that seeks to block the connection between us and God. Most references are in Job’s conversation with Jehovah, but two are found in the New Testament, one is alluded to as a plague in Egypt and one exhibits itself, although not identified, at Jesus’ crucifixion.
During the 9th plague in Egypt (Exo 10:21-23) the darkness was not just an absence of light but it was so thick and heavy that it could be felt and no-one attempted to stir or fight it. The vivid and physical description indicates that everyone was literally pinned down by gloom for three days.
From the human perspective it is hopelessness, despair, emptiness; terror, lack of future and unending eternal weeping as it comes between a person and God. It is not a valley between a person and death but a lack of connection with God. (Job 16:16)
An interesting fact is that God doesn’t push it aside or ignore it; He doesn’t just acknowledge it as a barrier. He doesn’t attempt to block it with His Light. He aggressively drags it out and celebrates it. He sees positive things in it and reveals deep things from it. (Job 12:22)It is ghastly and ungodly but it has doors that are accessible from a victor’s perspective (Job 38:17) And God pillages it so that it produces treasures that I can help myself to. (Job 28:3) He turns Shadow into morning light; an amazing triumphant statement about the size and nature of our God. (Amos 5:8)
The Shadow of Death seems to come when there is an overt defiance of God, a rebellion against the Counsel of the Most High, with the result that a person is bound in affliction. (Ps 107:9-11) But that is not always the case.
The crux of the Shadow of Death is reported at the crucifixion. At noon, after Jesus was crucified there came a Shadow which was not an eclipse. Darkness was so strong that it wasn’t just felt. It breeched relationship with Jehovah. Jesus cried out in horror “… why have YOU abandoned me? But this wasn’t abandonment by the Father even though the feeling was there. It was the awfulness of not being connected. Jesus had not rebelled and there was no legal right for the Shadow to attack Him, inflicting that pain on Him. But a long and major battle ensued between Jesus and the Shadow. It was a savage wrestling that took place long before death came. Jesus did not die under the Shadow. He was so holy, and so in line with the Father’s will, and so extravagant in fulfilling the principles of His desires, that the Shadow could not stay. It tried but was defeated after three hours of attempting to defeat Him by cutting Him off from His relationship with the Father. Light came back to prove that He had defeated the Shadow before His death. In the next hours of hanging on the cross He made three more statements: “I’m thirsty.” and “It is finished.” And His former sense of betrayal and separation was completely gone. His reconciliation was so total, that He made one last statement of committing His life, without reservation, to Him. No-one and nothing can kill God. In the last battle of that day He yielded Himself and then went on to defeat death.
I believe it has been this Shadow that has been manifesting of late. I had never previously taken much note of it in my studies, but probably because of the marathon of praying that went on during this week it came popping into my attention. Let me repeat:
- God doesn’t just push the Shadow aside.
- He doesn’t acknowledge it as a barrier.
- He doesn’t block it with His Light.
- He leaves it there.
- He celebrates it.
- He reveals deep things from it.
- He sees the positive things in it.
- It is ghastly and ungodly but it has doors that a victor can access.
- God pillages it so that it produces treasures that I can benefit from.
- He turns that Shadow into the light of morning.
He is an amazing and triumphant God who restores my joy, energy and time. Eventually, in His time. I’ll discover that 1+1= 2.
May you be blessed to wait on the LORD; to renew your strength; to mount up with wings as eagles; to run, and not be weary; and to walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)