Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


By Dr. James Modlish
(These outlines are in rough draft format)

The 23rd Psalm
Lesson Four

The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death
(Psalm 23:4)



A religion that does not prepare its adherents to die, is a shame. Some say, "all they want is your money" are correct without death preparation.


I. It's and inevitable valley -

Princess Di - (Rom. 6:23; 7:24-25)


II. Evil is connected to it - (Heb. 2:14)

As negative as all this sounds, God has two items of comfort for us through the valley.

A. The Rod - A strong sapling with the roots whittled down to make a club - it could be thrown with amazing speed and accuracy.

[1]. A symbol of Strength and Authority (Ex. 4:1-5,17,20) - So the scriptures must be the Rod!

[2]. Used to discipline - If the shepherd saw the sheep wandering away, or approaching poisonous weeds, or getting too close to danger, the rod would go whistling thru the air to remind the sheep of the parameters. There is a great blessing knowing the boundaries (Exe. 20:33-38). Does not the Word discipline us?

[3]. Used to examine us - The skilled shepherd took his rod and parted the wool to look close to determine the condition of the skin etc. You cannot "pull the wool over His eyes" (Ps. 139:23,24) - The Word looks below the surface.

[4]. It is an instrument of protection both for himself and the sheep - The skilled shepherd uses his rod to drive off predators. After a life time of being under the protection of the book, it will comfort you in the valley.

B. The Staff - Is essentially a symbol of concern. Normally a long, slender stick, often with a crook or hook on one end. A picture of the Holy Spirit - do not go without it (Ex. 12:11).

[1]. Draws sheep together into an intimate relationship - The shepherd uses his staff to gently lift a newborn lamb and bring it to its mother without leaving human scent and risking rejection. The Holy Spirit is intrinsically involved in the new birth process (Jn. 3:1-8).

[2]. Used for guiding sheep (Jud. 6:19-23 - confirmation) thru difficult terrain and passages. It is not an instrument to beat with, but to touch with and often used to stay in touch - after years of salvation sensing the touch of the Spirit - the valley of death will be one of shadows (Rom. 8:16).

[3]. An instrument of rescue - on steep cliffs, brambles, etc.

[4]. Connected with faith - (Heb. 11:21)

Death is the last enemy - (1 Cor. 15:25-26; Song Sol. 2:4)

What will not prepare you for death!

A. Prominence (Acts 26:27-28) - Becoming a Christian is the result of persuading (Acts 28:23-24), the more prominent, the more difficult it is to be persuaded. In the New Testament it was always the common people who responded.

B. Religion (Jn. 3) - notice what's missing in the equation - ceremony etc.

Birth implies:

[1]. A time experience
[2]. No past
[3]. A new beginning
[4]. A new name

C. Works (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5-8)

  1. At Princess Di's funeral there was no sermon, only the briefest illusion to "Christ, who died for you." the emphasis was on works!

  2. Mother Theresa lived more righteous than most, I applaud her works, but it is not her works that need to be emulated to die with salvation. But for sake of conversation, let's say she is the standard - Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell what he had and give to the poor - have you done it? You better be thankful it's "not of works".

Thank God these are not the necessary ingredients, for if they were could you qualify?


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