Shadow of Death

These is an interesting phrase in the 23rd Psalm that says, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” The 23rd psalm is perhaps the most beloved passage of scripture in the bible and this psalm is one of hope, encouragement and recognition of God’ protection and provision for believers.

If you think about this verse, it is a word picture of someone walking through a valley and fearing when they see a shadow. Not because they actually “saw” something to be fearful of, rather, they saw the “shadow” of something to be fearful of.

This scripture is a metaphor meaning that many people imagine or fear things or events that most likely will never happen. They live in a constant state of fear. Have you ever had a bad dream of something happening to someone you love? You wake up and ask yourself, where did that come from? Well, a bad dream is kind of like a shadow in a sense. It causes fear of something that hasn’t happened. If you read the whole 23rd psalm, it is basically saying that if God cares enough to keep the animals safe and fed, he will much more take care of you.

Several things about shadows that are worth noting. First, a shadow is not the real thing. Secondly, it always looks bigger than it is. Third, a shadow never hurt anyone and lastly, all you need to do is keep walking forward and you will step out from under the shadow.

If I were a commentator (which I am not,) I would translate this passage to say the following; “Yea, so what? there will always be temptations to let a shadow or a dark mood overcomes us and temp us to be fearful, but I put my trust in the God of creation and I choose to walk without fear.” KT

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