Summary: Every single person has an appointment with death - where you go depends upon who you trust!
The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death
8th March 2009
Whenever we have a shadow we have two other things, a substance and a light. David has already talked about the valley of the substance of death in Psalm 22 My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? This is what Christ cried at Calvary.
The very substance of death is to be forsaken by God. That is the essence of a lost eternity that is the reality of Hell, to die God-abandoned. That is what awaits all those who die without the Shepherd.
Not only does a shadow need a substance it also needs alight. The Word of God is the Light of the Shadow of Death. - Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
It is the light shining on the substance that causes the shadow. That is what makes the difference between the death of a believer and the death of an unbeliever. The unbeliever goes out into the dark, there is reserved for him a blackness and darkness for ever (Jude 1:13)
In contrast to this the believer goes out into the light. It is great to be saved this morning! God saves us, keeps us, will come for us and will reward us.
How wonderful it is to feel His divine presence! We feel His presence in the good times but we need to trust His presence in the bad times.
I. What Is The Valley of the Shadow of Death?
1. It Is A Valley Of Guarantee – Hebrews 9:27
Every single person has an appointment with death – we cannot escape it, we cannot bypass it, we cannot outrun it – According to a middle-eastern fable, a merchant from Baghdad once asked his servant to run an errand. While at the markets, the servant went around a corner and saw ‘Lady Death’. She terrified him so much that he returned to his master in a great rush. “I am terrified,” said the servant. “I want to take the fastest horse and ride towards Samarra.” Seeing how absolutely terrified his servant was, the master granted the request. Later that afternoon, the merchant visited the markets himself and he too met Lady Death. He asked, “Why do you startle my servant?” Lady Death answered, Frankly, it was I who was startled. I couldn’t understand why your servant was in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death is a valley of guarantee….
a) For The Saint – The Shadow of Death - 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
We are told that when we leave these bodies, we go immediately into the presence of the Lord. As soon as death causes this clay tabernacle to fold up and fall away, the redeemed soul finds itself in the presence of the One Who died to save that soul. That truth alone makes Heaven worth everything.
We can speak of golden streets, jasper walls, angelic hosts, pearl gates and foundations of precious stones; but the presence of Jesus Christ is what will make Heaven Heavenly! It will be Him and His glory that will light that city, (Rev. 21:23). It was He that died on the cross to make it possible and when we pass through that last valley we will see Him in that city on high. We will forever dwell in His presence.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
b) For The Sinner – The Substance of Death - Revelation 14:10-11 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
2. It Is A Valley Of Shadows –
Death is mentioned 878 times in the Bible which points out the reality of man’s appointment. Jesus met the substance of death and we meet only the shadow! As the shadow of a dog cannot bite, the shadow of a sword cannot cut and the shadow of death cannot harm the soul.
For the sheep, the day of grazing was over and the evening sun was beginning to sink, leaving its shadows to loom upon the land. Often the shepherd had to lead his sheep through the narrow valleys to make it home.