Thursday, December 9 2010
The Valley Of The Shadow
The 23rd Psalm is one of the most beautiful statements of faith in the Holy Scriptures. It was written by David, the former shepherd of Bethlehem who was appointed King of Israel (see the entire series Israelite Monarchy - The Origin, The Civil War, The United Kingdom, The Division Of Israel, The Northern Kingdom, The Southern Kingdom and The Messiah).
"23:1 A Psalm of David.
"I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me"
The Scriptures do not state when David wrote the 23rd Psalm, or whether his apparent metaphor was also an actual prayer that he spoke while facing grave danger in a specific valley. If David was referring to a specific place and event, there were many that he could have chosen from. One of the earliest was the valley of Elah where David faced the heavily armed and armored giant Goliath - armed with "only" his faith ("17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee" 1 Samuel 17:46 KJV) and a rock slinger ("18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress" Psalm 18:2 KJV).
"17:2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines ... 17:4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span ... 17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 17:49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 17:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David." (1 Samuel 17:2,4,48-50 KJV)
David knew other valleys with the "shadow of death" after he became king. David's crossing of the Kidron Valley while fleeing a treasonous coup by his own son Absalom was certainly one of them.
"15:23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness. 15:24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God [see also The Mount Sinai Prophecy]: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. 15:25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation: 15:26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him." (2 Samuel 15:23-26 KJV)
Centuries later, on the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ could well-relate to His physical ancestor's feeling of betrayal and doom as He also crossed the same Kidron Valley to ascend the Mount of Olives.
"18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron [RSV "across the Kidron valley"], where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Fact Finder: What valley was the object lesson for "hell"?
This Day In History, December 9
536: Flavius Belisarius (most-often known simply as "Belisarius"), a general of the Eastern (or "Byzantine") Roman Empire, captured Rome.
1625: The Treaty of the Hague was signed under which England and the Netherlands agreed to subsidize Christian IV of Denmark in his campaign in Germany.
1824: The Battle of Ayacucho, during the Latin-American war of independence; an anti-Spain republican rebel victory over royalists on the high plateau near Ayacucho, Peru.
1868: W.E. Gladstone became British Prime Minister for the first of his four terms.
1870: The Society of Biblical Archaeology was founded in London.
1905: An Act for the Separation of Church and State became law in France, repealing Napoleon's Concordat of 1801.
1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottomans (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The Balfour Declaration). It occurred on Hanukkah, which commemorates the recovery of The Temple after the original "abomination of desolation" that was committed by The Seleucids while under the rule of the heathen Antiochus Epiphanes (see Abomination of Desolation - Where? and listen to our Sermon Hanukkah In Prophecy).
1931: Spain became a republic.
1940: British forces launched their first major offensive in North Africa during the Second World War.
1941: China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
1945: U.S. General George Patton was involved in an automobile accident at Kafertal, a suburb of Mannheim, Germany. The collision was relatively minor, however Patton, who was not wearing a seat belt, flew upward and struck his head on the roof of the vehicle; he was paralyzed from the neck down and died 12 days later.
1949: The United Nations General Assembly voted for the entire city of Jerusalem to be transformed into a corpus separtum - an "international" city.
1957: Lester Pearson (who later served as Canada's 14th Prime Minister, 1963-1968) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He received the award for his work while Canadian external affairs minister in negotiating a settlement of the 1956 Suez crisis by proposing a UN peace-keeping force as a means of easing the British and French out of Egypt.
1961: Captured Nazi Adolf Eichman was found guilty of war crimes by a court in Israel.
1961: Tanganyika became independent from Britain and took the new name Tanzania.
1990: Former "Solidarity" labor union leader Lech Walesa won Poland's presidential election.
1994: The closest (to date) recorded approach to earth by a celestial object occurred when an asteroid the size of a small house passed within 100,000 km. of the planet (about 1/4 of the distance to the moon). Known as asteroid 1994XM1, it orbits the sun in the same area as the earth and is believed that it will eventually collide with earth.