“Even 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.”
Psalm 23 is by far one of the most well-known and often quoted passages of scripture even to those who are not believers in Christ Jesus. It is one of the Psalmists’ David’s greatest writings penned within all the psalms he wrote as it depicts God as our True Shepherd – The ONE who is faithful to provide protection, safe pasture, and carry us through even the darkest of times in our lives. This passage possesses an underlying theme that is of utmost importance in our life’s journey with the Lord – His unending, “ever-presence.” God is always with us, in all circumstances, even when we cannot see evidence of Him moving, when we think we don’t “feel His presence,” when we think He’s not at work within our given situation, He has not turned away. However, it’s often you and I who have turned our eyes away from Him and focused our attention on our immediate situation, taking our lives into our own hands instead of inviting God into our circumstances. God’s desire is for us to desperately call on Him to be present with us as we walk through the valleys of life.
David writes, “Even 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.” Drawing from his personal experiences as a sheep herder by trade, David understood the protection and comfort the sheep received by remaining in close proximity to the shepherd. This applies to our lives as children of the most High God, who has promised to never leave us, nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). David knew that life would involve occasions in which he would be called to travel through deep valleys, even causing him to feel he may be coming to the point of death, yet he need not fear, because his God was with him.
You and I will journey on mountain tops and down into some dark valleys of life, at times feeling as if death is casting a shadow. Such can often be the case with prolonged seasons of trials, suffering, or waiting on the Lord, yet we have the same promise David held onto, “for you (God) are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” There are times when we will feel God’s direct presence come over us, other times will require us to simply trust in faith the comfort we find in the truth and promises of His word in scripture. Yet other times it will be the soft whispers of His Holy Spirit living within us that say, “Do not fear, I am with you. I will never leave you.” We must remain desperate for His presence by inviting Him into our circumstances moment by moment, especially when we need to be led through the valley.
Father, You are the True Shepherd who cares deeply for His flock in every way and desires to carry us through the valleys of life reminding us that we’re never alone. Thank You that I need not fear when entering those valleys because You are with me and will provide comfort and safety along the journey. Just as You have purposes for our “mountain top” experiences, You often use the “valleys” in our lives to mold us, test us, and draw us nearer to You than we could ever imagine. Thank You for Your faithfulness as my Shepherd to walk beside me especially when the valley becomes deep. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.