Walking Through the Valley of The Shadow of Death
In Psalms 23 verse 4, David alluded to “the valley of the shadow of death.” While a place like this may not exist in real life, it’s my personal conviction that we, sometimes, go through certain situations that will readily pass for this kind of valley, allegorically. In driving this message further home, let me share an experience I had about 15 or more years ago.
My sermon text that fateful, Sunday, the morning was Psalms 23. While I touched other verses in general, I zeroed in on verse 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.” I recall stating the reason for shadow (of any kind) was because there was, first an opaque object in-between, forbidding the passage of light through it; thereby casting the shadow. An absence of shadow means the absence of this object. Death can be likened to the object herein responsible for the shadow. Valley of the shadow of death, therefore, refers to a situation wherein we feel real death; smell it, almost touching it because of proximity. By some mysterious arrangement, the evening of this same day, I had a real-to-life experience of what this was.
I drove, at that time, our church minibus in the company of another friend, along the popular College road, Ogba, Lagos, Nigeria. As I was about pulling over for him to disembark, I heard audibly in my ear a voice instructing me not to. (I believe this was God!) While I pondered over this, like a flash, a car zoomed from behind, in an attempt to overtake and block our path. Almost immediately, I heard the same voice again, directing to put the vehicle on reverse gear; I did. As I reversed, the other vehicle too, took to a reverse. In the process, some two or so young men highlighted from it, shooting sporadically in our direction (without any bullet hitting the vehicle or any of us, the commuters). After what looked like two or so minutes, I heard the same voice saying, “Change your gear in the forward direction.” I did, approached the on-coming vehicle, and miraculously overtook it. A little while after, after we had completely escaped to safety, reality dawned. I realized we had just gone through what could best be described as a valley of the shadow of death!
God was with us through that experience! What if He had been absent? There probably would have been no voice. We may have fallen or may have been torn apart by the bullets of those evil men. To the glory of God, not a single fear of hurt or harm was felt through this horrendous experience! We walked through that valley gallantly, not fully grasping what was going on. So will everyone who carries God’s presence when they find themselves in such valleys!