The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Audio: mp3

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

These words are one of the most sweetest of holy writ. This promise is a sweet wholesome loaf. We are to eat this loaf. The world says, you can’t have your cake and eat it. This saying comes straight from the devil himself. These promises of Jesus are given as a sweet loaf and we are to eat them. The world says, there are promises but you can’t enjoy them. The satisfaction, happiness and peace that the world offers are the cake, but sorry you can’t eat it. We can fear no evil because God is with us. God has given us this promise so that we will eat it. There’s no other reason.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Bring your attention to this valley of shadow of death. It is something that you don’t walk in, you walk through it. Every one of us will go through this valley. It can be likened unto a rocky ravine, a straight pass, a difficult way that has stones mounted up so high they reach to heaven and the atmosphere is closing in. Just like your troubles mounting one on the other squeezing the very air from your lungs. All the light that you used to have seems to turn into the blackness of midnight. Have you ever experienced such a thing where life seems to have lost its entire glimmer and all the warmth has fled from you? The cold chill of death starts to hug you.

This experience, if you haven’t yet experienced it you will where life will lose its entire colour where your problems get bigger and bigger and you get more and more discouraged. How can I ever keep walking? This is the valley of the shadow of death where you don’t have a reason to keep living. Many young people come to this point. The world is so overstimulating and they fall into a deep depression. There is something inside of man that does not enjoy such an experience. Why doesn’t man like being in such a valley?

Psalms 34:12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

Everybody likes life and wants to see good in their life. Nobody desired to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Everybody has an inbuilt struggle for life. This struggle for life that is in every man has some bad implications when it comes to the gospel.

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Because we have a self defence mechanism built into us and we perceive that what we do is right, when the threat of death comes, we try to avoid it. We either fight or flight. My way is right. I desire life. I want to see many days that I can see good. My path is right. This is selfishness in man that has come because of Genesis. Recall what happened to Adam and Eve when they transgressed. God came, their very friend and they fled for their life. I want to save my life. I’m going to hide because I’m afraid. The fear of death, that fear creates a reaction in each one of us. Depending on our characters, we’re either going to be like Adam and Eve and run or like Cain who fights. This is the natural reaction we have when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. When death is about to grab hold of us, we struggle for life.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil

Can this really be a reality for us? To come to the end of one’s life and have no reaction? That’s not human.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

In the world there is this element of survival of the fittest. I must look after me. On the other hand, love. Here is the manifestation of the people of God and the people of the devil.

“In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33), says Christ; but in Me ye shall have peace. The trials to which Christians are subjected in sorrow, adversity, and reproach are the means appointed of God to separate the chaff from the wheat. {AG 89.2}

In other words God has placed in the pathway of each one of us, a place called the valley of the shadow of death. Every single person has to walk through this valley. God has ordained these trails which the valley represents. It will separate God’s people from the chaff.

Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time.{PP 72.5}

Right now we have in this world two classes of people: Cains and Abel’s, a person who will defend his life and a person who will lose his life. We want to see if we actually do fear.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If love is a fulfilling of the law, the distinguishing thing that makes God’s children His children is if I fear when I go through the valley, I can’t have love. The time of trouble such as never was is coming. What is the thing that will drive this world to ruin?

Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.

The Lord will send a tumult, full confusion upon the people. Brother against brother. Friend against friend. Here is the destruction of the city of Babylon, which spiritually is called Egypt and Sodom as we read in Revelation.

Isaiah 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

Here we have the end time war of Armageddon. This war is sparked from brother against brother because of the threat of death. When the world goes into more financial chaos, there is the threat that I’m going to lose my life and the things dear to me, my idols. Brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. How can we not be part of such an event? Recall the story of Gideon. Gideon fought in the valley of Jezreel. What happen in this war? There were thousands of Israelites that were going to go to war against the Midianites. Three hundred men went and the Lord said, you won’t have to fight. Just have the trumpet, the proclamation of the truth and the vessel with the lamp inside it, which is Christ in us. When the signal happens, blow the trumpet and smash that earthen vessel so the light can shine. What happened to the Midianite army?

Midianites fought against Midianites and they destroyed each other. The people of God didn’t have to do anything. Recall the battle that Jehoshaphat had also in the same place where Armageddon shall be fought. Jehoshaphat goes out and points singers to sing praises to the Lord. As they sung, the Lord caused the people of Amon and Moab to fight against the inhabitants of Seer. When they had destroyed them they turned against each other and destroyed each other. Right there in the same place that the last battle of the world shall be fought because the way in which it is fought is the same. Man will be threatened and will destroy another man.

Think about selfishness. It cannot exist. It is eternal destruction. If you had two people on an island and they were both selfish, they’d kill each other. If you had another two people on an Island that loved each other, could they live forever? Absolutely. Selfishness is determined to self-destruct. That’s the law of it. When the pressure of death comes selfishness peaks in order to save life. That peak will be the cause of its eternal loss. We should pay much attention to our reactions when people cross us or are threatened. If our attitude is this earthy nature that is inside of us, then despite our profession, we will be part of the great conflagration. This is where the battle of selfishness is really fought.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

8:17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

God hates it while we in our heart are upset with someone else. That’s why He says if you come to the altar to worship God and have something against your brother, leave your gift upon the altar, go to your brother and make it right. God hates the evil that lies in the heart against somebody else. That is selfishness. When you despise somebody else, you love yourself at the expense of others. There’s a documentary call ‘The Century of Self’. The front runners promoting ‘This Century of Self’ is America with their policy of liberty; do as you will. Because you can do whatever you want to do, it has generated a century of self. Everything that is made makes something easier for myself. Everything done is for me. It’s to pamper self. We have been 100 years in this process of selfishness. Do you agree that today this world is very selfish? Humanity is at a peak of selfishness. As soon as there is a stress there will be brother against brother in this world of selfishness. When the Greek economy collapsed, what happened in the streets?

Rioting because it’s our god, our money and our idol. It’s so inconvenient because we’ve lost all our superannuation. Then I’m really angry and frustrated. Then it comes, brother against brother. This is how the world will dissolve itself. If we exercise that same passion now in our quite home, when the tumult comes, we’ll be sucked in. This battle happens in the heart. In this century of self in which we are growing up in, that is being promoted by the great liberty movement, what does the bible say about it?

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

If you have liberty, don’t think you can indulge yourself. That’s not what liberty is for. If you have freedom, don’t pamper yourself. Love and serve one another. That’s what we are to do with liberty. Don’t use liberty to fulfill the lusts of your flesh.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

If we loved our neighbour then when death threatened our neighbour, we would protect them. In protecting them, they would in turn protect you. We would have an eternal protection. But the world is opposite; protect myself and destroy my brother.

Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

If you bite, you shall be bitten. He that lives by the sword shall die by the sword. Whether it’s a physical sword, or the sword of your tongue, or the sword of your thoughts against your brother, you shall die by the same thing.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

The lust of the flesh was that pride of life; to live. What man is he that desires life that he may see good? Everyone wants to see life. This is the flesh. There’s nothing wrong to want life, but you have to want it in the right way. Christ said, I have come to give life more abundant. This isn’t about trying to save your own life. It’s about giving life. If a tree said it wouldn’t give shade to any one any more or let its branches be inhabited by birds and just be by itself, then the tree would die. If all the trees died, then we would die. Nature is not selfish. It always lives to minister to others. If we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill that fleshly desire. We are to be perfect. Perfection can only come from the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father …

Remember how the children of God and the children of the devil are manifested? It’s clearly manifested in the way you relate with other people, even the people that cross your will, opinions and likes. That is what proves whose child you are.

Matthew 5:45 which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Do you have reward if you just love those that are kind to you? No, because that is still the epitome of selfishness.

Matthew 5:46 … do not even the publicans the same?

The common sinner will like you if you’re nice to him, but if you cross him, he’ll bite you.

Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Here is the definition of perfection; to genuinely love your enemy. This doesn’t mean that you go to your enemies and say, whatever you’re doing I’ll do. This is to love their soul and yet hate that sin that they do. If we would be comforted by God and dwell in the house of God forever, we must be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

We think, as long as I’m holy then I can see God. But here it says follow peace with all men. How do you follow peace with all men? Jesus says He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ lit every man that has come into this world. Do you believe that? Every person that has a beating heart came from Jesus. The Prince of Peace has given that person life. Who are we to say that person should die in our opinions? That person is made in the image of God. How can I despise him? We should not despise the image God, because in doing so, we despise God himself. We are to follow peace with all men.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Have you stopped to think about how Jesus overcame the world; how He destroyed selfishness? We need to follow in His steps. In Him you have peace. If I want to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil, I must be in Him. If Jesus wasn’t there, you would do nothing but fear. Then you would retaliate under such oppression whether it is your best friend, husband or government that has upset you. You won’t be able to help it. In Jesus we have peace, when He is with us. What was in Jesus?

Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Jesus did not please Himself. If Jesus did not please Himself, in Him is peace, he overcame tribulation, then for me to overcome I must not please myself.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

He came down from heaven and didn’t do his own will. We come from the lowest parts of the earth and we want to do our will? What’s wrong with us? Self, this century of self.

Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Here Jesus going through the valley of the shadow of death. Notice how He gets through it.

Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

This century of self teaches do as thou wilt. Here, Jesus teaches do as the Father wills. Here is the thing that will save your life: if you don’t seek to do your own will. He surrenders.

Matthew 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

That’s what he said in his prayer, thy will be done as it is in heaven.

Matthew 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Here one of his friends, his disciple has turned into his foe. The person that was with him all the time is now turning against him. His disciples are all sleeping. There’s no support. It was a sorrow for him to go to the cross as the Father willed. It was another sorrow to see his disciples so slack and for his most ardent follower to deny him three times.

Matthew 26:47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Notice how the religious people acted when they were crossed. They came out with swords and staves. Being religious doesn’t mean you have overcome.

Matthew 26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? …

What does Jesus call him? Friend.

Matthew 26:50 …Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

Peter had what kind of reaction? Is our fleshly reaction to evil any better than the evil itself? No, because it comes from the same spring; human flesh. Jesus says to his own disciple something that we need to take to heart here today.

Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

The is the prophecy of the last battle. Everybody that defends themselves shall be destroyed by one another. The sword that they take up is the thing that kills them. We know how Jesus was taken. He prayed, Lord not my will but thine. I don’t want to go through this because we do want life, but my life is subject to His will. The beautiful thing is that when we subject our temporal life to His will, His will is that is that we have eternal life. We are subjecting a temporal reality for an eternal. Jesus dwelt upon that and says, Father not as I will but as you will.

I saw that many would have to learn what it is to be a Christian–that it is not in name; but it is having the mind of Christ, submitting to the will of God in all things. Especially will the young who have never known what privations or hardships are, who have a set will, and do not bend that will to the glory of God, have a great work to do. They go along very smoothly until their will is crossed, and then they have no control over themselves. They have not the will of God before them. They do not study how they can best glorify God, or advance His cause, or do good to others. But it is self, self, how can it be gratified? Such religion is not worth a straw. Those who possess it will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. The true Christian will love to wait and watch for the teachings of God and the leadings of His Spirit. But with many, religion is merely a form. Vital godliness is lacking.{1T 152.3}

Many who profess the name of Christ and claim to be looking for His speedy coming, know not what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake. Their hearts are not subdued by grace, and they are not dead to self, as is often shown in various ways. At the same time they are talking of having trials. But the principal cause of their trials is an unsubdued heart, which makes self so sensitive that it is often crossed. If such could realize what it is to be a humble follower of Christ, a true Christian, they would begin to work in good earnest and begin right. They would first die to self, then be instant in prayer, and check every passion of the heart. Give up your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, brethren, and follow the meek Pattern. Ever keep Jesus in your mind that He is your example and you must tread in His footsteps. Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. He for our sins was once the meek, slain lamb, wounded, bruised, smitten, and afflicted.

Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life. {EW 113.2}

Sister L, you have a great battle before you in order to overcome. You have let self keep the victory. Your stubborn will is the greatest enemy you have. You have an unsubdued temper, and do not control your tongue. The lack of self-control has been a great injury to yourself and to your family. Happiness, quietude, and peace have abode in your dwelling but a short period at a time. If your will is crossed you are easily irritated, and then you speak and act as though a demon had possession of you. Angels turn from the scene of discord where angry words are exchanged. Many times have you driven the precious, heavenly angels from your family by the indulgence of passion. {2T 78.4}

Do you get irritated? Do you then say harsh words? This is like being possessed by a devil.

Self, undisciplined, rough, coarse and untamable, will seek for the mastery; and when the will is crossed they will lose self-control, and take the bit in their own mouth. Persuasion, counsel, prayers, entreaties are of no account with them. They are as unreasonable as the inebriate, and Satan controls their thoughts and their actions. The demon within them is enraged and they are as verily under his control as the person whose reason is dethroned by the intoxicating glass. {ST, August 12, 1886 par. 11}

All nations have become drunk, because of the delicacies the city has produced. This generation of self has produced all sorts of delicacies and it has made men drunk. So when they are crossed, they are unreasonable, you cannot counsel with them, they lose control and destroy one another. This is the fact of what we will see shortly. There’s only two classes. You either need to be an Abel or a Cain. You either need to overcome the passion within yourself, or let it go and see the result. When looking at Jesus, when He was reviled, He reviled not again. If Jesus is your king, we are to adore His character and dwell upon it until we become changed into His image.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of Strata andour peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The spiritual stress of having the sins upon Him that God seemed destined to him. His earthly friends denied betrayed him. The people in his own religious organisation spat upon him. He was condemned to death by the church pastors because he crossed them and and in all of this he opened not his mouth. He could have sent 10,000 angels but he didn’t. Peter had a sword and the temptation to smite was so great that he fell. Jesus could have destroyed these people yet he did not do it. He is attitude was Father forgive them for they know not what they do. They nailed his hands and his feet. They pressed the crown of thorns upon him. They mocked him, smote him and he said, Father forgive them.

1Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

2:21 For even hereunto were ye called:

Where are we called as Christians? To this point, this manifestation of the glory of God. This is the high calling.

1 Peter 2:21… because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

If the Lord is not your shepherd, you will want. Your flesh will desire to have these dainties that will be no longer. If he is your shepherd you will not go astray in your own will, but you will return to him. Then as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will fear no evil because he is with you. He went through it, not just with you, but in you. In Me you shall have peace.

Psalms 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

This is what Jesus said on the cross. The God who created me is in this dark valley. The shadow of death seems to block out every ray of hope. Why have you forsaken me?

Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: …

What does he call them then the crucified him? Dogs. What does a dog do if you pull its ears? It bites you. That is what Jesus is equating to these religious people. They are dogs. The passion that lies within the dog and within the form and human nature is of the same calibre.

Psalms 22:16 …the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

What does he call God? My darling. My God, why have you forsaken me? Even though he seems to have forsaken me, I will still trust you. Into thy hands I commend my spirit, my darling. Deliver me from these dogs. What can we do? Commit ourselves unto him that judges righteously, that’s all we can do. Our own standard of judgement that we endeavour to put upon people that do wrong to us will always fail. Vengeance is mind, saith the Lord. Let God avenge. He will. Jesus is in this situation and he commends His spirit into God’s hands.

Psalms 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

This is the cross. Every person will pass through it. Will you fear?

Psalms 23:4… I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Now is our time of peril. Our only safety is walking in the footsteps of Jesus and wearing his yokes. Trouble was times are before us. In many instances, friends will become alienated. Without cause men will become our enemies. The motives of the people of God will be misrepresented, not only by the world, but by their own brethren. The Lord servants will be through hard places. Never forget this. When you go through your valley of the shadow of death, remember this and it will keep you.


Posted on October 12, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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