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Led Through the Valley

“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 23:4

ESV



Have you ever felt that everywhere you look, you only see darkness. That every turn brings about new enemies and challenges that feel like they are going to kill you. Have you ever suffered a depression so deep that even a glimmer of light seems impossible to find? To me, this is the imagery that comes to mine when I read about “the valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23. It seems to me a place of looming despair and, well, death. Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt lost there? If so, I believe Psalm 23:4 offers us some hope:


“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.”


King David of the Old Testament wrote Psalm 23, and he definitely walked through some dangerous and deadly valleys. He had many enemies, and was even betrayed by his own son! Many scholars believe that David suffered from deep depression. Reading through his Psalms, I would have to agree. In this Psalm, David is comparing himself to a sheep, and God is his shepherd. Shepherd’s lead, and sheep follow. When David is in the valley, he knows that he is still being led by God. He says that he will not fear, because God is with Him. He is comforted as he follows his Shepherd because the Shepherd is prepared with a rod and staff to protect and guide the sheep through the valley. And that is just it. God led David, and leads us, through the valley. If we follow the Shepherd’s lead, we will not stay there. We will not get stuck in the darkness. The valley may be dark, scary, deadly, and full of depression, but God, our Shepherd, is with us. He is leading us out. He is guiding us with his staff, and protecting us with his rod. What are we to do? We do as the sheep do, we follow.

My Prayer For You

Father, I thank you for being our good Shepherd. I pray for those who are in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, that they would be comforted by your presence and your guidance. Teach us to follow as you lead us out of these valleys and into the light. Amen.

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