“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” The words are in the present tense, it deals with now, living and dying today. We need protection and help today.
The “valley of the shadow of death” could be a dark, deep ravine with sharp cliffs that cast shadows. The shepherd would know there were better pastures ahead but in order to get to them he would have to lead the sheep through these dark ravines. There may be danger ahead from the cliffs themselves or from animals hiding and waiting for their prey.
As we journey along the Christian path we may find ourselves going through dark and dangerous places, and difficult times. Life can take a turn for the worst, our circumstances may look grim. King David had days like that. His life was threatened, he had to hide out from his enemies, king Saul was hunting him down to kill him. He faced wild beasts that threatened to kill his sheep. He would use his rod and staff often to defend the sheep from danger. God is our shield, our fortress, our rock to protect us from danger. He is watching over us every day. Anything that happens to us must first be filtered through His fingers, He must permit it because he is nothing can separate us from Christ. Jesus says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Paul says, “Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ…” (Rom.8:8-39), including death, disaster, circumstances, and even Satan himself, absolutely nothing. He takes all the bad things that happen to us as well as the good things and works them together for His own good will. (Rom. 8:28). He is all wise and only permits what is for your ultimate good. You can trust Him with your life. God will take care of you.
Walk with the Good Shepherd through the Valleys, the difficult times (Ps 23:4-5).
The Good Shepherd’s presence is with you in times of trials. David’s languages changes in this verse he speaks directly to God about times of trial, He leans on his relationship with God and says, “You”. He draws near to God, he need his direct help. There are fearful and difficult circumstances in “the valley of the shadow of death”.
He will protect you in the valley, He will feed you in the dark place, He will give you water to drink from the steams of water there, He will protect you from the dangers that lurk there. This is often the time we get closer to God, in difficult times and when circumstances are against us. It is often the place he revives and refreshes us. We come out of the valley having walked closer to God than we do on the mountain top. It is His presence that takes away our fear. He protects us with his rod and staff. He uses His rod of authority to chase away the predators. He disciplines wayward sheep with it also. He uses His staff to lift us out of a hole we have fallen into or to guide us on the right path. These two pieces of equipment bring help and comfort to the sheep.
Yea, though I walk, there is no panic here, the believer is not to panic at the valley experience they are to keep on walking in the Spirit, even in the most difficult times like severe illness and death. Walking is a step by step process. Keep on walking with God. Keep on going forward with him regardless what is happening all around. He knows the path ahead, it is safe to walk with him. There is grace for living, for times of trial and grace for dying. We don’t go through it on our own, He goes with us.
through We walk through the valley we don’t stay in it. We go through trials and difficulties we don’t stay in them. Even death is something we don’t stay in we go through it to the other side and be with Jesus for ever and ever. We close our eyes here in death but open our eyes in Heaven. Death is a shadow we pass through. We can have peace and assurance in the valley.
The God of the Valleys
“And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD .” (1 Kings 20:28)
He is not only the God of the hills but also the God of the valleys. The Syrians who were enemies of Israel spoke these words. Israel had fallen away from God. The Syrians had been defeated by Israel. They said “God of the hills” at the first victory (v.23) and the second victory proved that He was the “God of the valleys”.
Many of us have proved him on the hilltop experience. We have had those happy and glorious days, days when it seemed nothing could go wrong. We felt good, we believed we could slay any giant. Everything was going well. These are wonderful times.
On our way to heaven we will pass through a valley, a time of trouble, a difficult experience. Our circumstances may suddenly change and we are not on the mountain top. Some valleys are very deep but the God of the valleys will bring you through. He who begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6.
“the valley of the shadow of death,” it is not “the valley of death, “but the valley of the shadow of death, there is no sun there, it is only the shadow. This is a valley with high walls as eight hundred feet very close together so that at the bottom of the valley the sun hardly penetrates it, it is a dark valley. It is also a very dangerous place for sheep. This is the place where the wolves, the lions and the bears were found. Some of you are going the valley today, it may be circumstances with your health, your parents, your children, at your job or a death. We will all go through it in the future. At that time you need to know God is with you he does not leave or abandon you, He does not forsake you, He stays with you in times of trouble , in the valley. “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour…” Isa. 43:1-3).
A shadow comes because there light shining. Paul said, “Oh death where is thy sting..” Jesus took the sting of death for us. We don’t have to fear “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb, 2:14-15). Death has been conquered by Jesus. When it comes our time He will bring us through it. He is our light that chases away the shadows. The shadow of a lion cannot kill, the shadow of a snake cannot strike, the shadow of death cannot destroy us.
The valley may be death.
The Good Shepherd knows what it is to loose someone He loved to death, his friend Lazarus went through it, He himself passed through that dark valley, but God was with him. Angels ministered to him. He defeated death, sin and Satan. Death puts its cold icy hands on everyone, it casts a shadow over humanity. Jesus fought and defeated death and Satan in the valley of the Shadow of Death. He fought Satan and defeated him. This wonderful verse has brought great comfort to many on their death . It has given hope and consolation and comfort.
The valley may be a time of depression
Your heart is cast down within you and you are walking through dark experiences. “The valley of the shadow of death.” Is a dark, gloomy place, a depressing place. The Valley of gloom, the valley of tears. Are you going through the valley of depression? Is your heart heavy? Have you lost your song in the night? Someone may say, “You should not be depressed.” But we sometimes are. It may be because of over tiredness, it may be because of circumstances, You try to put on a brave face. Let these words comfort you “I will be with you.” They will give you comfort and strength to go on. God’s people suffer of darkness than others. My grandmother rejoiced on her deathbed and had a vision of Jesus coming for her.
The Valley of Baca (Psalm 84:5-6)
The valley may be trials, of the unknown, of weeping. This is when life is hard and you feel you cant go on. You feel the Lord is far from you.The Man of Sorrows will comfort you. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools” “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the word.” “..we have peace with God and glory in tribulation.” “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom. 5:1-5
The valley may be any peculiar trials.
When we go through great trials and feel unable to cope. When we are in that valley experience and all seems hopeless or lost. Remember He is with you. The Shepherd will take care of you. Do not fear. The Good Shepherd will guide you through. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you…” When you become perplexed and troubled in your soul you must go to God and dwell in his peace and have confidence and faith that he is with you through it all. He will lead you with his rod and Your staff, they comfort me!. It may be a dangerous valley. Robbers may be waiting to attack and rob you. Your life may be in danger. Enemies may attack you and wound you. But He will come to your rescue. “Yea, though I walk” David doesn’t walk alone he walks with the shepherd, He is with the sheep. People may forsake you but he won’t. All the saints go into the valley but they went through, they did not stay in. David said, “Why art thy downcast o my soul? Awake thee and praise the Lord.”
The valley may be severe illness.
God sometimes leads his people through sorrow and pain. He is there with you in that hospital, in that sick room. Trust Him.
The valley may be times of conflict
“…in the presence of mine enemies”. Every person who followed God in history has had times of conflict. You have enemies, the world, the flesh, the devil as well as some people, you cannot escape it. Nobody likes or wants conflict
In all these there is comfort, “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” .He will use his rod to protect you and drive back your enemy you are to lean upon his staff to get strength in the darkest hour.
The Valley of Elah – of Satanic Attack
“And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel , were in the valley of Elah , fighting with the Philistines “ (1 Sam. 17:1, 17)
It was here that Goliath harassed the people of Israel. They were full of fear. Satan often threatens us and harasses us. He is like a roaring lion, a dragon, an old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan. He is a powerful enemy Jude 9, “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee”. Do you have a Goliath in the valley today? God will defeat him through Christ. Jesus, who has met the enemy and defeated him, spoiled principalities and powers, now at God’s right hand with all power in heaven and earth given to Him.
I will fear no evil. The evil will not frighten him. Jesus won the victory over evil. He takes away the fear of those shadows of evil. Many times evil is in our minds and we fear for nothing. Some Christians fear the evil of sickness or death, or unemployment, or heartache Jesus can deal with our fears, our phobias. I will not fear Satan or his demons Jesus has won the victory over them.
For thou art with me. My Creator Father is with me every day, I shall not fear. Here the sheep turn their eyes away from the dangers to the shepherd and his business was to deal with adversaries and foes, the grievous wolves. If sheep are in danger their safety is found in the shepherd. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And “I will be with you to the end of the age.”
Thy rod and thy staff. They guide and rule my life. They protect me from dangers and let me know He is in control.
they comfort me. It is wonderful to know there they are there for our for our protection. They give me a sense of belonging to the great God of the Universe is my Father, that comforts me.
One day we will see Him. Some of us will die”, Paul said, “To die is gain”, and “departing to be with Christ, which is far better.” But those who are alive at His coming “shall be caught up together with the Lord in the air”. The living saints on earth will experience this when He comes for His Church. Paul says this is our hope, our comfort at the prospect of death.
Yes in the present life there are valleys, but when we are in the presence of Jesus, the Light , all shadows will disappear. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. You, O Lord, are with me! Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” David was very much alive when he wrote this Psalm. He knew the Good Shepherd in his daily experience. He is lying down in green pastures and following his Lord by still waters. He knows he will be protected from any danger. He believes goodness and mercy to follow him through all his days. This Psalm is for us today not when we die.
“Why art thy downcast o my soul? Awake thee and praise the Lord.”