The Presence and Protection of the Shepherd (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.
1. Believers are not absolved (exempt) from the valley!
To get to the rich pastures of the mountains, the sheep had to go through the 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. We must accept it; we must acknowledge it; all who follow the Lord Jesus will eventually walk through deep valleys.
In our spiritual journey from Earth to Heaven, we, believers go through valleys. Valleys are what connect us to the next vantage point (next mountain top) in the journey. Some valleys are very deep and dark. Others may not be as deep and dark, but they are more treacherous. 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. The shadow of death represents the hardest times of life, the darkest nights we experience, bitter experiences, the deepest, loneliest places we pass through.
2. Believers are not alone in the valley!
While we realize there are valleys in which we will travel, we must also realize that we will not travel there by ourselves.
In the face of difficult, dark experiences the Psalmist confidently proclaimed, “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me”. The faithful Shepherd will make His presence known in the most terrible moments of life. Notice: David never said, he “ran through”, or “avoided” the valley of the shadow of death. He said, “I walk through”. Because the Lord is with us, we can “walk” through our valleys with confidence instead of “running” through them.
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 (Psalm 46:1). 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 promise of God’s presence was the source of David’s confidence. That’s the promise of God to His children—even as you walk through the valley, He will be with you. You are not alone and you can trust Him.
3. Believers are not abandoned to the valley!
We will come into valleys. And the Shepherd’s presence will be near. Yet He will not leave us in any valley. Notice the words of the text: “Yea, though I walk through the valley.” “Though.” He will not lead us into the valley and then leave it to us to get out. No, He will take us all the way through the valley. This is not only true now, but will be true when we face the final valley, the valley of death.
PRAYER: Father, thank You for Your promise of protection and Your presence for I’ll never walk alone in this life. Thank You for always being there for me. In Jesus Name 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.