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Lesson 5 (23rd Psalm): Walking Through Death's Valley*

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Sermon shared by Elmer Towns

May 2000
Summary: Even when you choose to go through dangers and difficulties, the Shepherd goes through them with you to the other side.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
Sermon:
Psalm 23 Series
By
Elmer Towns

Lesson 5: Walking through death’s valley

A. INTRODUCTION: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT VALLEYS?

1. Surrounded by high mountains. There are cliffs or obstacles that will keep you in shadows or the dark.

2. There are mountain barriers to keep you from reaching your goal, but a valley goes through them.

3. There are wrong paths through the mountains that end up in box canyons or a wrong trail just evaporates.

4. Only a shepherd can get sheep through dark valleys.

B. YEA, THOUGH I WALK

1. The dark valleys are my choice, the shepherd does not lead into them.

2. Adam and Eve chose death and darkness (Rom. 5:12).

3. Sheep ignorantly stray into the valley of trouble, “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isa. 53:6).
a. They do not see danger.
b. They follow their food.
c. They are defenseless.

4. Sheep are always selfish, “And have turned to their own way” (Isa. 53:6).

C. THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

1. A deep narrow valley is dark.

WHY DARKNESS SCARES US
a. We are afraid of the unknown.
b. Darkness covers the evil of evil people (John 3:19).
c. We stumble or fall.
d. We remember.
e. Darkness is Satan’s kingdom.


2. What causes shadows? A barrier to the light or a distortion to the light.

3. The original suggests it is a “valley of shadows” not a “valley of death.

WHAT SHADOWS DO TO US
1. Our active imagination scares us. “We have nothing to
fear but fear itself.”
2. Our guilty memory.
3. We imagine the worst not best.
4. Shadows make us hurt ourselves.
5. Shadows steal happiness.

4. Shadows are illusions, what we imagine is not there.

5. Shadows cannot hurt us, but they make us hurt ourselves.

6. What is the greatest shadow to scare us. Death.

7. Since shadows are caused by light, what should be our response?
a. Come to the light, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
b. Walk in the light, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12).
c. Trust the Lord. “Shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

8. “Death Shadows.” Don’t scare the Lord. Why? He was born with a death shadow on the manger. “He became obedient to death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).

9. Remember, our death is only a shadow.

WHY DOES DEATH SCARE EVEN BELIEVERS?
1. We cannot see what is there.
2. We do not want physical pain.
3. We do not want to give up anything.
4. Because of sin, we have doubts.
5. We have not finished everything.

10. When the bony hand of death reaches for you, it is the hand of Jesus. “I am alive forever more and I have the keys of death” (Rev. 1:18).

D. THE WONDERFUL WORD THROUGH

1. What does the shepherd not do?
a. Lead us into the valley and leave us there.
b. Watch us from outside the valley.
c. Does not call to us from the other side.
d. The shepherd is with us through the valley to the other side.

2. Death is real to the unsaved, but a shadow to believers.

Death momentarily obscures the light when we pass through
the shadow of death, but instantly on the other side we enter
the light.

3. Our present troubles are mountains – barriers that block us.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOUNTAINS

1. There is a valley through problems (John 14:6).

2. People make their problems, not God.

3. Valleys have shadows
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