My Valley (Psalm 23:4)
Psalm 23:4, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
In Psalm 23:4, we find some of the most familiar and courageous words ever written. To get to the rich pastures of the mountains the sheep had to go through the valleys. In our spiritual journey from earth to Heaven, we believers go through valleys. Some valleys are very deep and dark. Others may not be as deep and dark, but they are more treacherous. And there are valleys that seem to be unbelievably long and time consuming. Yet, overall, they connect us to the next vantage point; the next mountain top in the journey.
The phrase "shadow of death" describes a deep ravine where a shepherd would lead his sheep in order to take them to better pasture. During the walk there would come a time when the cliff walls became so narrow and steep the very sunlight was blocked out. The valley of the shadow of death is different for different people. But it represents the hardest times of life. The darkest nights we experience, bitter experiences, the deepest, loneliest places we pass through. Whatever creates hopelessness in you can be called a shadow in the valley.
1. Believers are not absolved (exempt) from the valley! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Valleys are a part of our lives. We must accept it; we must acknowledge it. All who follow the Lord Jesus will eventually walk through deep valleys. It’s not "if" you walk through the valley; it’s "when" you walk through the valley. There are no exemptions; there are no excuses. The same Shepherd Who leads His sheep into “green pastures,” beside “still waters,” and in “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” also leads them into ravines and low places. They are the difficult times of our lives which may include sickness, financial loss, betrayal, aging, bereavement, disappointment and death. It is in our valleys that we often spiritually mature and get close to the Lord.
2. Believers are not alone nor abandoned in the valley! “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
We are not alone in our valleys. The Lord is with us the whole time. While we realize there are valleys in which we will travel, we must also realize that we will not travel there by ourselves. I have learned through the years that God often speaks the most clearly in the valley. (Or maybe, I’m most likely to hear Him speak here.) You may think you couldn’t go through a valley that way—and you would be right. You couldn’t do it, alone. But God will be there with you. He will be a very present help to you. God will guide you through that circumstance. You don’t have to fear, wonder, or worry about your situation because God will be faithful to you. The Lord is with us when we are weak, weeping, and weary.
Pray, Father God, You are the Good Shepherd. And You are my shepherd. Thank You that even in the darkest times, You are who You say You are. Thank You that You don’t leave me indefinitely in the valley, but You bring me through it. And thank You most of all for Your presence. You never leave me alone. You are always with me—no matter what, no matter when, no matter for how long. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.