Psalm 23:4 (NKJV): Yea, 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.
A shepherd always knows where he’s going. He is well versed in the terrain where his sheep graze. And sheep never walk willingly into unlit places. So, how did David end up walking in a dark valley of all places?
Have we ever stopped to really understand this? When fear overwhelms us, we are tempted to believe that God would never let bad things happen to us. But David seems to think otherwise.
He acknowledges that life is not all green pastures and calm waters. There are valleys of deep darkness. Valleys where sickness lurks, depression hides, and fear taunts the imagination. But what makes this the most beloved Psalm throughout history is comfort’s invasion of this dark place. Comfort in knowing that Jesus, our Lord, leads.
Christ, our good shepherd lays us down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and guides us through dark valleys. David did not envision a shepherd scratching his head wondering if he took the wrong turn. Instead, he trusts that his shepherd (God) meant for him to pass the dark valley.
The rod and staff mean the shepherd is prepared for the route. He will not yield to flight, he’s prepared to fight. And David knew that the shadows will bow to his shepherd.
Dear friends, in some seasons, God graciously allows us to enjoy green pastures, sunny days and calm waters. At times, He will require us to follow Him into the shadows. Everything He does is for His glory and namesake. The Lord will always lead us towards things that make us more like Him.
Remember this: no matter what dark valleys we’re facing today – if we are truly His sheep and know His voice – He will guide our steps. In the end, all are but rivers, valleys and paths that lead us to our eternal shepherd.
Written By: Bro Andrew Richard