Statement by Premier Alan Winde at his weekly digital press conference 03 December 2020

Our December Challenge: Let’s roll-back this resurgence by wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places and confined spaces every day this month Last week Thursday, I announced that the Garden Route and to a lesser extent, the Cape Metro, were experiencing an established Covid-19 resurgence. This means that the virus is starting to spread within communities again at a faster rate and more people are being hospitalised as a result. Since I last spoke to you, the number of active cases in the Western Cape has increased from 7793 on 26 November to 10 442 on 2 December. The number of people being admitted into hospital, as a result, has also continued to increase from 1020 on 26 November to 1253 on 2 December. There are now 209 people in ICU or high care, which means they are receiving critical healthcare either through high-flow oxygen or on ventilators.

The above extract is a press release with a statement by the premier of the Western Cape province, Alan Winde.

Why would David make the statement in Psalm 23:4 where he says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

The background of my thought for today goes with the speech of our President where he mentioned the potential second wave of Covid 19 and it’s potential fatal effect. I’m currently overwhelmed by the amount of reports of friends, colleagues and loved-ones who have tested positive for the virus, or whom has actually died because of this pandemic. It’s almost as if we are all travelling through a valley that’s filled with death and the fear of dying.

What is David saying?

He is describing our walk and relationship with God. Valleys of darkness and death are unavoidable. We travel on hills and go through valleys in our walk with the Lord Jesus. We travel on life’s’ path where there seem to be no light, but that does not mean that the path we are travelling on is the wrong one. The path of righteousness will always remain the right path. It remains a path of safety, comfort and refuge.

David is saying that even though the path be shadowy, cold and dark, that he will not be alarmed or become doubtful. He will not fear wandering off or becoming lost, because the Good Shepherd leads the way. David makes a statement of faith by saying that even though an enemy may be lurking in the dark, that the rod and staff of the Shepherd will protect and comfort him.

Shadow of death

The concept of the “Shadow of Death” is interesting. In Job 3:5 it says “May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it.” Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”

The term, “Shadow of Death” was familiar in the Old Testament. The idea is that death itself has cast its gloomy shadow over that specific valley – the valley of the dead. The term is used for any situation situation in life that involves gloom and sadness. It refers to any situation of trouble or sorrow; any dark and dangerous way.

I will fear no evil

Dark, gloomy, fearful and dismal as our situation my seem, we dread nothing. That is the encouraging words from the Word of God through the David, the Psalmist. We have nothing to fear when we go through our dark valleys. Death has no sting for the believer.

New American Standard Bible
1 Corinthians 15:55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

We have nothing to fear in the valley of death, not even death itself. We have nothing to fear even in the grave and nothing beyond the grave.

For thou art with me

This is our comfort. Our God will never leave us nor forsake us. What David confidently knew was what a shepherd does in his daily oversight of the flock is faithfully watch over them. His continuous presence is with them. God would be his companion, his comforter, his protector, his guide. How applicable is this to death! The dying man seems to go into the dark valley alone. His friends accompany him as far as they can, and then they must give him the parting hand. They cheer him with their voice until he becomes deaf to all sounds; they cheer him with their looks until his eye becomes dim, and he can see no more.

They cheer him with the fond embrace until he becomes insensible to every expression of earthly affection, and then he seems to be alone. But the dying believer is not alone. His Saviour Gis is with him in the valley, and will never leave him. Upon the arms of Jesus we can lean, and by His presence we will be comforted, until we emerge from the gloom into the bright world beyond.

My pause for thought is that all that is needful to dissipate the terrors of the valley of death is to be able to say, “Thou art with me.”

Leave a comment and I’ll gladly reply.

God bless.

R v Staden

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