Wednesday, September 16, 2020

God in the Valley of Death - and Life

"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." (Ps. 23.4)

Behind every shadow there is a substance,

     and in the Valley of the Shadow there is death.

Somehow, as with the healing power in Peter's shadow,
     the shadow itself has power.
The Shadow of Death also transmits a portion of death and destruction.
     All shadow blocks out the light of the sun,
          and transmits a colder measure of darkness.

Where there is life there are shadows -
     and valleys are an experience common to all men.
Today we live in a shadowed world
     and the shadow is the same - death.
     It is a shadow which threatens all kinds of disorder and chaos.
          a shadow which threatens unknown calamity.
                The shadow would shut down life as we know it,
                      and fasten a portion of death on our days.

We like the comfort of Psalm 23
     but we need to see that the highest point of the Psalm
          is in the Valley of Death -

               In the Valley of Death there is Life.
          It is here that the psalmist finds the Presence of God
               and declares "Thou art with me."

The Shepherd leads and provides in the first three verses,
     but He is closer in the valley,
          and it is here His sheep find something more than food.

               It is here we find God closer than the shadow. 

It is in the valley alone the palmist speaks of Comfort.

I can't explain Comfort - it goes beyond words.
    It is rest and renewal and security and Life.
        It is the absence of hurt, and pain, and all that may destroy.
            It is the flow of a New Life, fresh from the hand of God.

    Here in the midst of death God comes to and abides with His Own.
                        Here is Heaven begun on earth.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Life amidst the Death

"Thou wilt show me the path of life." (Ps. 21.4)

The sun is setting on a time of purpose - and anarchy is loosed.
Those who observe society see the end of an age and a setting sun.

We live at a turning point in our civilization.
     No one has the answer for the avalanche of change.

The common purpose and common values which unite a people, a nation, has been lost.
     In its place we have a mistaken affirmation on the individual's "rights" 

     and "freedom."
          Instead of us owing something to the world of mankind around us
               we feel that the world owes us happiness and fulfillment.

It would seem that the ones who should discern the situation and guide,
     the pastors and the politicians,
     are the only ones who are mistaking the sunset for the sunrise -
     proclaiming that greater and better things are just around the corner.
These are the ones unable or unwilling to free their minds from yesterday's world and accept the fact that we will never go back to the world of yesterday.

There cannot be a simplistic, triumphal mindset which would lead us to believe
that we will be untouched by that which surrounds us.
     There will be difficult days of uncertainty and shadow around -
          days unlike what we have experienced in time past.

We can't take lightly a scripture like Psalm 91 and use it as a talisman,
as though the mere repetition of Scripture has spiritual value to save.
     There will be times in which faith will be tested
     and only a real faith and communion with God will see us through in victory.

In the midst of all the darkness and confusion, the last word is God's.
     Fear and destruction are not the portion of those born of God.

In the lives of those who lay hold of God and His Word the enemy cannot prevail

      -There is "another King, one Jesus." (Acts 17.7)

This is the bedrock on which God builds.
     This is what God would show us.
          God Himself is the Way.
               God Himself is the Path of Life.

God always bears His own through the storm.

                 "Ye have seen ... how I bare you on eagles' wings, 

                  and brought you unto Myself." (Exo. 19.4)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Asking for Life

Psalm 21.4 "He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it him."
    What a  statement -

     so concise,
          so worth looking at with attention.

We place things in our lives in the order of their importance to us,
    and yet somehow we do not give much attention to discovering what life itself is.

     What is it that God sets before us as we travel through the years?
     How do the Earthly and the Heavenly realms meet and interact?

When we leave this earth and the things of this earth behind us,
    then what will we take with us?
The easy answer is to say that we take nothing with us,
    but in reality we take much with us.

All the days and hours of our lives are slots of time. 

These we fill one way or another, with things which we will carry with us when we leave.
There are things we have done,
    there are longings of our heart,

          there are things "which we have heard, 
               which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, 
                    and our hands have handled, of the Word of life." (1 Jn.1.1)

These are the measures of revelation, to which our response will be rewarded or judged, in that Sphere beyond the one we now inhabit.

David "asked life" - only God can give it, because only God is the Author.
    Only God can give it, because that Life is beyond the reach of man.
The wisest man who ever lived expressed his frustration in searching through all of human experience.
    Finally finding that ultimate satisfaction was to be found nowhere he

declared "all is vanity." (Ecc. 12.8)

Life is given to those who seek,
    those who are not held by the things which hold most men,
        the fears, and  the formulas which surround us all.

Life is found when we realize that leaving our own world is essential 
if we are to find the world of God. 

That which is not Life is Death,
and the question is, 'how much Life do we carry with us'?

Yes, Life is given freely to all who value and seek it.
     Paul says in Philippians 3.7: "What things were gain to me, those I   
counted loss for Christ."
          Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find." (Mat.7.7)