• Beth Hildebrand

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Happy Friday folks! I hope you’ve all felt blessed by God this week and today’s words will resonate with you in a special way to help your weekend start with joy!

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoicing at the harvest.” (Isaiah 9:2-3

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)

Almost every time I’ve heard someone mention prophecy in the Old Testament, I’ve thought of theses words in Isaiah 9:6 – And he w ill be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

For the first time this season though, when I read Isaiah 9:1-7, verses 2-3 stood out to me because I read the words “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Remember, there were several hundred years between the last prophecy and the birth of Jesus, and the people living during that time felt like they were living in the shadow of death. Does that sound familiar again in Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)?

I think it’s common or normal for people to have a little bit of fear when hearing the words “shadow of death”. That is a dark place. And we’ve probably all felt that at some point or another in our lives. That is the last thing God wants us to feel though. I think Dallas Willard described this well in his book “Life Without Lack”:

“Jesus taught us not to be afraid…you can live completely without fear. God is the kind of being who, if you will place yourself in his hands, in trust, will ensure that nothing can ever happen to you that will make you say, ‘I’m afraid’ or ‘I don’t have enough.’

What do you fear? Whatever came to mind, I want you to know that you have nothing to fear. If you doubt this, I urge you to ask God to give you a peace about this. Let me say it again: No matter what you fear, you can live without that fear. You do not have to be afraid of anything. Nothing. Absolutely nothing – no death, not the loss of loved ones, not being without someone to car for you….If you will take the time required to come to know and trust God as he is, asking the Lord to give light to your mind, you can come to a place of perfect peace and fearlessness. Because God is with you, you can live without fear. This is precisely what the Shepherd Psalm is talking about.” (pg. 32)

I’m so thankful for the Light Who came to this earth 2,000+ years ago and because of that, we no longer have anything to fear when we put our complete trust in Jesus. We will no longer be afraid about anything as Isaiah and the psalmist wrote about that promise given hundreds of years before Jesus was born.

Jesus, You are the Light of the world and You do not want us to fear or be afraid of anything, including the darkness in the valley of the shadow of death. That is why You became flesh and bones to safe us. While you were on this earth, God’s light shined from You and I ask that same light, Yourself, will shine through each of us this Christmas and always, too. Amen!

So, I’ll ask the same question that Dallas Willard asked us:  What do you fear?

I hope you all have a wonder-filled weekend!  I’ll be back Monday with one more week of reflecting on Advent and the Good Shepherd.

Beth

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