Shadow of death
Murphy's law spells out the pessimist's creed: if something can go wrong, it will. Some find an odd comfort in this "expect the worst" philosophy. With it, you'll never be disappointed - the worst that can happen is that you will be happily surprised if things turn out okay.
But I think merely expecting the worst isn't going far enough. Better is doing what David works through in Psalm 23 - the worst case scenario and how to be ready for it.
David looks to the good Shepherd, not merely to solve temporal problems like food and drink, guidance and safety. Whatever good the Lord provides for this life, David does not expect it to forestall the absolute worst:
The QIb vo' Hegh, the shadow of death
The Klingon words QIb (shadow) and Hegh (death) are used here for the Hebrew term tsalmaveth, traditionally rendered "the shadow of death," a phrase that captures just how this dark cloud hangs over all of us. The Bible says it simply "...it is appointed for men to die..." (Hebrews 9:27) Yet the response here in Psalm 23 is not despair, but confidence that this final passage is not to be feared, if we are accompanied by this shepherd who truly walks alongside us.
Notice that in this verse something important changes. The previous verses speak about the shepherd - he does this, he does that. But in this verse David speaks directly to him:
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Death's QIb, its shadow, looms over all of us - no exceptions. In reviewing our options, our plans, this is what we must all be prepared for. Medicine, wealth, or position will not keep us from it. There is no castle or protection that will ultimately keep it away.
But we do not have to enter that last frontier alone. If we go with the one who has gone through it himself, we need fear no evil. For with the one who has conquered death by our side, that path through the shadows can, and will, be the path to victory.
originally podcast 4/7/05