Good Morning, all you
early birds! Most of you know, I think,
that these Coffee Breaks come out in the wee hours of the morning, and some
folks even write me asking if I’m up at 2:30 in the morning sending them
out. Nope. Rich Hoffman is our webmaster and he gets
them published very late Thursday night or very early Friday morning.
Before we get into
today’s discussion, I have to share something with you. Many of you already know that Della and I
have inherited our four youngest grandchildren because of a serious crisis with
their parents. Being parents again to
children, aged 4 to 8, is an adventure all by itself. What it means is that we have counseling,
comforting, encouragement and spiritual building up in the lives of these young
eight-year-old, has been through her own traumas, apart from the other
three. A couple nights ago, I was
praying with her before she went to sleep.
Part of my prayer over her was that she would receive a visitation from
the Lord Jesus Christ during the night.
The next morning, she came bounding out of bed, excitedly saying to me,
“Grandpa, Jesus came and sat down with me last night. He and I got to sing together.”
The next morning was
almost a repeat of the day before. As
she was getting dressed, I heard her singing, “I love Jesus, and He loves
me.” Then I heard her singing another
tune that was completely new, so I asked her where she learned it. This time Jasmine said, “Grandpa, Jesus came
and sat down on my bed last night, and we sang together again.” I asked her if
the song she was singing was one that Jesus taught her and she nodded her head,
Have to say that when
Della and I hear these kinds of reports from the grandchildren, it gets really
exciting, heart-warming, and encouraging to see the responses and know that we
are making headway.
week, we tried to wrap up our discussion on being led in the Paths of
Righteousness. There’s so much more that
we could cover, but I do want to move on today with the next phase of this
adventure in Psalm 23. That brings us
to, Yea, though I walk through
the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
do a quick re-cap of all that has transpired up to this point.
adventure began with a decree, a declaration of our total commitment to the
Lord Jesus Christ when we stated unequivocally, “The Lord is
my Shepherd!” It began a walk for
us in life that spelled radical change from the past. This was the beginning of a transition from
darkness and ignorance of the spiritual realm to light, to a revelation of a
dimension the world does not know.
came the decree with a promise and confident expectation when we said, “I
shall not want!” It was a prophetic declaration over our lives
that we would never again live a life of want, of need, of continual “getting”
of “things” because of an ingrained spirit of The Fear of Death.
followed the compelling of Holy Spirit to eat of the Word when we experienced
the discipline of “He maketh me to lie down in green
pastures.” This is that time
of laying and establishing the foundations of the written Word, as well as
coming to know and understand that Jesus IS that Word – that He is more than
words and letters on paper. What we eat
of, and carefully digest, are the principles and purposes of Jesus Christ being
both Shepherd and Lord of our lives.
the Azusa Street Revival at the turn of the 20th Century and the
Charismatic Renewal which unfolded some 60 years later were introductions to
the entire body of Christ to the very next adventure, where David writes, “He
leadeth me beside the still waters.” The difference between this step and the
previous is quite obvious. Instead of
“He maketh me,” now it has become, “He leadeth me.” It has
been often said that Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He does not force people into doing something
against their will.
this instance, the leading – rather than compelling – is because we are about
to enter a dimension that our flesh may well rebel against. This is that realm where we submit our flesh
and our will to Holy Spirit and allow Him to begin to flow through us. This is evidenced in the fact that we allow
Him to take control of our tongues in order to speak under His aegis and use
our tongues to speak with the languages of both men and angels. James makes it clear in his letter to the
body of Christ that “the tongue is a little member and boasteth
great things.” Hence the need to
submit it to Holy Spirit for His control so that we can speak according to the
will of God the Father.
submitted our entire beings to this realm of the Spirit, we are now ready for
the fifth step in this amazing adventure, and one – again – to which our flesh
will want to rebel. Here is where
spiritual surgery begins in our lives so that healing and restoration to the
image we were first created in can begin.
Hence, “He restoreth my soul.” That restoration is critical and must take
place if we are going to meet all of the challenges and events that will occur
as we walk with the Lord, following Him in the Paths of Righteousness.
Paths of Righteousness are going to take us into – and through! – the Valley of
the Shadow of Death.
recall that one of the areas of deliverance, healing and restoration is being
set free of all fear. As we have
discussed, there are three families of fear: The Fear of Evil, the Fear of Man
and the Fear of Death. It is important
to have our freedom from these areas where the Enemy has tormented us put to
the test. Holy Spirit does not put us to
the test so that we can fail but rather so we can see what He has accomplished
something that Matthew writes concerning Jesus.
Matthew 4:13-16: And
leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast,
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias
the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the
land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea,
beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw
great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is
can add to this with what Paul writes to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 2:14-15: Forasmuch
then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise
took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the
power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Fear of Death and the Fear of Evil are frequently working hand in hand with
each other to bring destruction to people – and perhaps the most vulnerable are
those who are seeking after the Lord Jesus Christ. The need to be free from these wicked spirits
is paramount in our walk in the Paths of Righteousness.
a major part of the restoration process involves being set free from these
spirits, it is important for us to see and experience the victory that Christ
has given us. Thus, the Paths of
Righteousness MUST lead is into and through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
of all, lets understand this “valley.”
There are several words or derivatives of the root word in Hebrew for
“valley.” In this instance, Holy Spirit
has chosen a derivative word which would be all too familiar to David’s
experiences, and properly describes it as “the Valley of the Shadow of
Death. To the south and west of the city
of Jerusalem runs a deep and narrow valley that is more “gorge” in our
understanding than “valley.” We see it
occasionally referred to throughout Scripture as “the Valley of Hinnom.”
makes this valley so distinct from other valleys is the fact that it was narrow
with high walls on either side, making side egress from the valley difficult,
if not impossible. It was a place to
which the Jebusite inhabitants of what was called at
the time, “the City of Jebus,” or “Jebusi.”
those of you who’ve read the rather lengthy Coffee Break series I did ten or
eleven years ago titled, Seven Nations, Seven Letters, you’ll remember that the
city of Jerusalem did not get its proper name until David, as King of Israel,
overthrew the Jebusite king who ruled there. The name, Jebus,
was a name given to the father of the Jebusites by
his children because of his military tactic of “crushing.” Not only did he have crushing military
victories over his opponents, he physically crushed their skulls and
bodies. He was born as a son of Canaan,
originally named, Jerus (which meant: foundations),
but his sons thought Jebus to be more fitting, and he
was known thereafter and throughout time as “Jebus,”
with all of his descendants referred to as “Jebusites.”
shared all that to say that this particular valley became the sight of human
sacrifice: hence, the “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” Anyone entering the valley experienced the
long shadows and the dread and foreboding it gave of death because of the way
it was used. An uncountable number of
people were put to death in that valley and burned as human sacrifices to Baal
and Astarte (or Ashteroth.)
Now! Put that concept into the picture when you
think the phrase, “Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.” Takes on a whole new dimension, doesn’t it? David emphasizes, however, the fact that we
that valley. We don’t stop there, and we
don’t remain there! We do come out the
other end of the valley. Some very
important foundations are established in our lives in the process, and we will
get to those in the next few weeks.
gives us another perspective of the Valley of the Shadow of Death in Psalm 107,
and what he writes here bears directly on what we will – and MUST – learn along
Psalm 107:8-14: Oh
that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for
his wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of
death, being bound in affliction and iron; Let’s pause in this narrative for a minute
and consider exactly what is taking place.
prophesied of Jesus, He brought light into the darkness and shadows where death
existed. David sees prophetically into
that day and makes it clear that those who are sitting in that darkness and in
the valley of the shadow of death need to praise the Lord and rejoice in their
deliverance. David knew from experience
that even in the midst of the crises and places of affliction that the answer
Psalm was a song sung, along with rejoicing and dancing, when he was in danger
of death from the Philistine king, Abimelech. The shadow of death hung around him. Part of his song goes, “I
sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Thus, he could write in the 107th
Psalm, “For He satisfieth the longing soul,
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” That satisfaction came because of the light
of the presence of the Lord in the midst of what for all practical purposes for
him was the valley of the shadow of death.
Now, he describes a
condition that causes folks to be in the shadow of death.
they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most
High: Therefore he brought down their
heart with labour; they fell down, and there was
none to help.
that which the Lord was saying to them is what started their
predicament. David adds that they
scorned and ridiculed the counsel of the Lord.
Thus He permitted them to suffer the consequences of their rebellion and
scorn. The Hebrew phraseology in this
statement indicates that the consequences of their disobedience included worry,
grief, and hard labors (trying to escape the results of their scorning of God’s
counsel) resulting in wavering, tottering and ultimate failure.
When folks find
themselves in that condition after their rebellion, stubbornness, disobedience
to the Word and counsel of the Lord, and they awaken spiritually to realize the
why and where of their predicament, there is a cry that erupts from their
being. In this instance, the Hebrew
phraseology describes a corporate cry where folks who are all in that state of
suffering cry out together asking God for His salvation.
they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of
their distresses. He brought them out of
darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
deliverance of the Lord to those who’ve rebelled against Him and His counsel when
they cry out for help is nothing less than astounding. David says that God delivered them, set them
free, brought light and life to their circumstances and broke the emotional,
mental (and even physical) chains that held them captive. That same light illuminated what had been the
shadow of death, bringing revelation in its place.
the 136th Psalm, David’s song begins, “O give thanks
unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth
forever.” NO KIDDING!!!
only laid foundations today for understanding the significance of the Valley of
the Shadow of Death and why the Paths of Righteousness lead us into that
place. Next week, we will expand on
I remind those of you
in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the
first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035.
The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have
difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original
call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in
case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by
conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these
gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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