Given August 1, 2016
I recently had a niece lose her young husband in a drowning accident while attempting to save his three young daughters from a rip current at a North Carolina beach. The morning of the funeral during my devotion, I asked the Lord what I could say to her for comfort and I immediately heard in my spirit, “The 23rd Psalm”. I had written about portions of this famous passage in my blog a few years ago and I was directed to begin with verse four. The following is the picture I received as I recited these verses. It is my prayer that these verses and the images painted through them will be a comfort to anyone going through a difficult time.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:” During these trying times when someone we love has died, we are surely walking through a dark valley. The main point here is to keep walking through; do not stop and camp there! That’s what the enemy would want you to do. But this verse says, “the valley of the shadow of death”, a shadow will not hurt you and you don’t have to be afraid of it. When we were kids, a shadow in a darkened bedroom would scare us and Mommy or Daddy would come in and assure us that everything was OK. But in order for there to be a shadow, there must be some light; Jesus is the light. So we need not fear any evil that may be lurking in the shadows as we are moving and looking forward.
“for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” As you’re walking, the devil may jump out of the shadows and threaten you. I can see the Great Shepherd who is with you extending His rod and saying, “Devil, stop right there or I’ll knock you out!” And the devil knows those words are true and he runs away. Then sometimes you may take a wrong step and fall off the path or into a ditch and that’s when God will reach out His staff and pull you back to safety. And you continue on. It’s a comfort knowing God is there.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:” Soon, you see the light at the end of your dark valley and there is a large banquet hall before you. God opens the door and directs you inside. As you step into the large room, you’re greeted by thunderous applause from the many people who are in attendance! You turn to God and ask, “What is this?” God says, “It’s for you; you are the honored guest.” The room is filled with tables, food, drinks and all the trimmings of a banquet and servants standing ready to serve. But you notice, standing around the outside wall, several people, some of which you recognize, with aggravated looks on their faces and some demons who have been harassing you as well. You ask God who they are. He replies, “Those are your enemies and they must stand there and watch as you are honored and there’s nothing they can do about it.” (This banquet is here on earth and not in Heaven because your enemies won’t be in Heaven.)
“thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Anointing the head with oil was a practice among Jews which showed respect paid by a host to his guest. So the fact that God, as the host, is anointing your head is a great honor and everyone there knows it. As the oil runs down your face, you turn to look at God and He smiles down at you and nods His head. Then the banquet begins and a servant brings your food and pours your drink into your vessel. But he keeps on pouring after the vessel is full and it runs over on the table cloth. You look at the servant with a puzzled look and God interjects with, “I told him to do that as an indication of the blessings you are to receive after coming through your dark valley will be more than your cup will hold.”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” After the banquet is over and all the people have come by to hug you and wish you the best, God says, “Now, it’s time to continue your journey.” “It’s going to be different than it was before the dark valley but remember, I will always be right there with you.” “And to assist you on your way, I’m going to send a couple of my people with you.” “Goodness and Mercy, come over here.” “I want you to follow my child the rest of her life and bless her with your namesakes.” Then God gives you a big hug and says, “Child, be strong, be courageous, be loving, be generous and thankful as you go.” And take care of those babies; I’ve got great plans for them and for you.” “And remember, I’ve already got your room ready in My house where you’ll live forever.” “And, there are some people there who are looking forward to your arrival.” “Have a blessed trip, I love you.”