(Because) the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
v. 4a- “(Therefore), even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Wow. That sounds ominous. Terrifying.
Try to imagine what that image meant to David when he wrote it, writing from the perspective of a Shepherd and His sheep.
Dark valleys meant danger. Unknown enemies lurked. Prowling animals that would mean the end of life for the sheep if they were alone.
Low places that left no clue as to what was on the other side of the massive walls of mountains all around.
Deep ravines in the blackest of nights.
Darkness. The unknown. Enemies. Low places.
Now “Valley of the Shadow of Death” is becoming a little more real.
Can’t we all relate?
Valley-type seasons of life, those life-changing circumstances, those deep griefs and disappointments.
Frightening, unfamiliar places that feel lonely, dark and dangerous.
We sense how vulnerable we are to outside forces.
We feel small when we look at our position next to the mountains that surround us.
Fear is our natural response. Just like sheep, we can’t navigate the direction out, we can’t fight off the enemies that lurk in this black place.
THIS is the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Threatening our hearts and souls and minds.
But we are not alone.
“(Because) the Lord is my Shepherd…I will fear no evil. For YOU are with me.”
The Shepherd walks with the sheep through the valley.
Fighting off the enemies, real and imagined.
The sheep can feel peace even in the valley if they stay close to their Shepherd and trust His direction.
For some reason, the path through this Valley was exactly the way He wanted to walk with you and me to get to the next destination.
Why? What good can come from such lonely, dangerous, dark places?
There is a trust that is built, an intimacy that occurs in that dark place. We develop a new dependency on the Shepherd for our protection, comfort and direction.
He can see in the dark, even when we can’t.
– Are you walking through a dark valley right now?
– Are you consumed with fear, overcome with the height of the mountains around you?
– Are you desperate to know why you had to walk this way?
– Can you close your eyes in that dark place and lean into the presence and promise of the Good Shepherd who is walking with you?
– Can you trust that He is by your side every step of the way, fighting off the enemies that surround you?
– Can you believe that His all-seeing eyes penetrate this darkness and see into the bright future ahead of you that is still beyond your scope of vision?
Take Psalm 23:4a with you today and claim it as your own.
“(Because) the Lord is my Shepherd…I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me….”
Romans 8:31, 37-39 – If God is for us, who can be against us?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.