Down in the valley of the shadow of death, sorrow reigns. Nation rises against nation. Brother wars against brother. The rich oppress the poor. The poor despise the rich. Fools use fleeting, worthless pleasures to fill their lives with meaning and only end up lonelier and angrier. Man tries to lift himself out of the chaos by burying his neighbor in the mud and muck of suffering. He tries to cleanse himself by pointing out the filth of others. He tries to win peace with the God up the mountain by shedding the blood of his fellow sinners in the valley. But as he does, his condemnation only grows worse and the valley of the shadow of death only grows deadlier.
But then Jesus Christ comes down the mountain. The Son of God, the eternal second person of the Holy Trinity takes on human flesh and joins us in the sorrow, the tears, the mud and mire. There, in that valley, He takes the sins off our backs and carrisd them to a mountain called Calvary. There, our Good Shepherd leads through that valley to a hill outside Jerusalem where He is pierced for us, where He pours out His blood upon us, where He washes us clean. There, on that mountain of blood and violence, Jesus gives us healing and peace. There, He gives us the right to live with Him forever. There, He builds His house, and the mountain of the house of the Lord is established as the highest of the mountains.
And because of this, the day is coming when believers from all tribes and tongues will leave the valley of sorrows and feast forever upon that mountain. The day is coming when the enemy nations who sought to slaughter each other will gather together as brothers, gathering at the feet of the One slaughtered for them at Calvary. The day is coming when we will beat our swords into plowshares, when we will turn our weapons of war into tools of harvest because Christ our Lord has harvested us out of the world of sin and delivered us into the eternal kingdom of paradise.
That day is coming. It’s coming soon. And when it comes, your lifetime in the valley of death will seem like a fleeting second compared to your eternity in the kingdom of life. Be at peace. Don’t despair. Sorrow no longer reigns in the valley. Christ does. Follow Him up the mountain.