Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: Proverbs 23
By Dave Dunson
Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God) are with me.”
This may be a familiar, or even favorite, verse of scripture to you. Maybe you have only vaguely heard of the verse, perhaps at a funeral you’ve attended. Either way, there are two words in this verse that may often get overlooked.
The first word on which I want you to focus is “through”. A lot of people are talking about everything we are going “through” as we deal with the horrible pandemic. We see the growing number of people infected and the number of deaths rising from COVID-19. We see the shortages in our stores and the restrictions under which we must live. We must not lose sight of the fact that “through” indicates some type of passage. To get to the other side of a hardship, we must go “through” it. We do not know how long the journey may take, but we know there is an end to it. We are now on our way “through” it. One comfort we have is knowing that we are not alone – God goes with us “through” every trial and hardship. He says He is with us always. The Bible is filled with testimonies of how God has brought people “through” all types of sorrows and hardships.
The second word on which I want you to focus is “shadow”. Have you seen any of the videos of toddlers when they see their own shadow for the first time? The child may be walking or running when they suddenly see their “shadow”. Because they don’t know what it is, they are often frightened. It is important for them, and for us, to realize that the “shadow” can do no harm. Dr. Karl Menniger has written, “Fears are educated into us and can, if we wish, be educated out of us.” The “shadow” of the most vicious dog will never bite you. It is true that death is a reality – not just a “shadow”. But, in Christ, we don’t even have to be afraid of death! That’s why we read in 1st Corinthians 15:3-4, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Later, in the same chapter, we read, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
- In what ways, if any, do you feel stuck due to the current pandemic?
- What keeps you moving “through” the crisis?
- As you are trying to go "through", what are some of the "shadows" causing fear?
- Read Psalm 119:105. How can this scripture be applied to dispel your “shadows”?
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, always. By your strength, help us to move “through” each day’s fears and challenges. Help us to change our fear of the shadows of death, into the peace of resting in the shadow of your presence. Through Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.
Dave Dunson works as a Chaplain for the Tulsa Police Department Chaplaincy Corp and the Pastoral Care Minister at Highland Park Christian Church in Tulsa, OK.