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.
Psalm 23:4 (KJV)
I love it when I discover an insight into a Bible verse that had previously alluded me. Given how familiar the 23rd Psalm is, that a mid-Summer Sermon would give me a new perspective on ‘I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ was even more joyful.
When a sermon, song, or scripture lingers in my mind, I sense that the Holy Spirit is trying to reveal something to me. The scripture which led this post, Psalm 23:4, will be explored.
For starters, what’s a valley? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it two ways:
- “An area of low land between hills or mountains”
- “A low period, point, or level”
The Shadow of Death in your Valleys (July 5, 2015)
As I sat on July 5th listening to one of the Associate Ministers at my church, Rev. Percy Pass (Oak Ridge First Baptist Church), give a sermon I wasn’t sure what to expect frankly. While I’d enjoyed the last sermon he’d given, anytime anyone other than my Pastor (Dr. Rev. James A. Webster) gives the Sunday Sermon, I’m not sure what kind of experience awaits. The Scripture for the minister’s Independence Day weekend Sermon: Psalm 23. As Rev. Pass proceeded, I can say I was fully pleased with what I heard. As I exchanged several approving glances with my smiling, 83-year old father, I knew I was not the only one in the sanctuary that Sunday morning who felt this way.
- He made one statement in the midst of the Sermon that, as soon as he uttered it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I am paraphrasing here:
David wrote about walking through a valley of the shadow of death, not a valley of death.
Rev. Pass put an emphasis on the word not. Guess what? The Lord puts an emphasis on keeping all his sheep safe and comforted!
As I returned to my Church Journal (with my Sermon notes) a few weeks later, I realized how much I’d missed in reading this one familiar verse (Psalm 23:4) of the Holy Bible. As my seasoned Pastor has said on many occasions: ‘I saw something new in reading this scripture this week’.
- If he can say that, I don’t feel bad that all the meaning in every Bible verse I read isn’t revealed when I first read it. Bible Study, in a group and solo, has it’s benefits!
- An active member of a mid-sized Missionary Baptist church in the Greensboro NC area, I can say that I haven’t heard many bad sermons. Rev. Pass’s sermon touched my spiritual heart. Without it, the blog post you are now reading would never have been published.
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