– John Newton
The Shadow of Death
King David knew a lot about the shadow of death. For nearly 12 years, he was hunted like a dog and had to run and hide for most of that time. There were times of hunger, cold, fear, darkness, and being outnumbered,; but David understood that a shadow of the valley of death couldn’t hurt him. Shadows are only images of the real thing, so shadows have no power to hurt. Psalm 23 was written to encourage us all that God may not take us over or around the valleys or even keep us from the valleys, but He does promise to go through the valleys with us.
One of the most tender verses in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 1:31 where God says to Moses, in reminding Israel, “In the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.” It’s like the feeling a young child gets when there is a sense of danger and they run to leap into their father’s or mother’s arms. They feel safer and more protected when carried. That is the idea of God, Who holds onto us as we undergo severe trials. Faith in Him can carry us a long, long way.
Into Old Age
The older I get, the more I seem to rely on God. These days I am reaching my physical limits much easier than before. But again, God gives us an ironclad promise that “even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4). So praise God with me in saying, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah” (Psalm 68:19).
When all we have is our faith, then we have all we need. Our faith is only as strong as the Object of our faith, and the Object of our faith is the person of Jesus Christ, Who brings about what He promises to do. Jesus tells us to have faith because He has promised that “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37), and “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-20).