The Fear of Death

February 8, 2016

 

The Fear of Death

Psalms 23:4

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.

The fear of death or bodily harm can be the most compelling fear of all.  The one reality we are sure of is the one we are living in; everything else is by faith.  If this life and body are the only hope and reality we know then death can be particularly disturbing and fearful.  Life, as we know it will cease to exist; then what darkness, nothing, back to dust?    

Some who read this could be walking through the valley of the shadow of death today.  It is built into us to protect and preserve our lives.  That fear will motivate us to do everything within our power to avoid death.  When we are really brought face to face with our mortality it is a sobering thing.  It makes us look deep within ourselves to think about the meaning of life and what the loss of it holds for us.  We examine our values and what we truly believe.

David was certainly faced with the awesome possibility of death as King Saul hunted him to take his life.  He was often faced with enemies that desired his death.  I believe David had learned a principle as a shepherd.  He knew that his sheep were totally dependent upon him, as their shepherd, for protection.  They had no real ability to protect themselves.  They knew that if they staid close to the shepherd, his rod and staff, his authority and power, would protect them.  Their greatest peace and our greatest peace are in knowing that we are walking with the Shepherd and that our life is not in our hands, it is in His.  We are at peace and we have comfort even in the midst of the certain threat of death because He is there and our life is hid with Christ in God.  The faith we have in our Shepherd is able to dispel the grip of fear that is seeking desperately to lay hold of our hearts.  Faith will dispel fear, but the lack of it will give place to it.  If we walk in the light, then we will not fear the darkness, for even if darkness surrounds us, it can not extinguish the light and the hope we have within us through Christ Jesus.  Often it can become a battleground between faith and fear as the fear of death seeks to lay hold of us.  

One scripture that brings us much encouragement in this fear of death is found in Hebrews 2:14-15.  It says, speaking of Jesus, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”  We have peace and assurance through the blood of Jesus and the confidence that through our trust in Him, He has paid for our sin, and robbed the devil of the fear eternal punishment and condemnation he once could put upon us.  Now we have the peace and confidence that when death comes we step out of the limitations of our mortal body into glory and into His wonderful presence.  We can almost view death as no longer as a curse, but as a promotion.  No wonder so many Christians through the ages have been able to hold fast their testimony and give up their possessions, their livelihood and their very lives.  They had their eyes fixed on One far more glorious that quenched the fear of death and loss.  It was the One who walked with them through the valley of the shadow of death.  

One of the greatest fears and terrors is that of the unknown, but the knowledge we have in Christ and the faith that we have placed in that knowledge of Him has robbed satan of his power of fear and intimidation.  

When Israel had come out of Egypt and was going up to battle against their enemies, this is the word that was spoken to them and what I believe the Lord wants us to hold fast in our hearts as we enter our battles.  It was spoken in Deuteronomy 20:1-4, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.””  If we know that we are already victorious in Christ what have we to fear?  The worst that could happen is that we would wake up in His arms.   In Psalms 27:1 David says, “The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” It is like when you were a small child and something frightened you.  You could run and jump up on daddy’s lap, bury your face in his chest and he would put his powerful arms around you.  You knew then that you were safe; that anything that touched you now had to come through your daddy first.  That is exactly how it is for us in the Lord.  Colossians 3:1-4 tells us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” If we are truly dead to the things and the affections of this world then what power of fear does the devil have over us seeing that we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God?  If the devil touches us, he has to come through God to do it.  If I know that God has control over all that touches my life then I have no room for fear, only for trust.  He is my good Shepherd that will lead me and keep me wherever I must go and through whatever valley of the shadow of death I must pass, I will fear no evil.

Blessings,

#kent

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