walk in the word
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. —Psalm 23:4
These are some of the most familiar and courageous words ever written: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” The phrase shadow of death is one Hebrew word describing 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 sheer, 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, the deepest, loneliest places we pass through. Whatever creates hopelessness in you can be called a shadow in the valley.
When it comes to this verse, it’s worth highlighting several words. The first is the word even. Everything God has revealed about Himself is true. Even in the darkest times. Even when life turns hard.
Never does the faith of a believer shine brighter than in the most difficult moments. I’ve seen people who have tragically lost every member of their family, yet respond in godly ways to the most desperate and devastating of circumstances. In those valleys, the people of God raise the flag and point to Christ.
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 promise of God’s presence was the source of David’s confidence.
Highlight also the word through. In the valley you might think, This will never end. I’ll never laugh again. I’ll never enjoy a simple pleasure again . . . but you will. The promise here is that you will get through that valley. As dark as it might seem in the moment, it won’t always be that way. You won’t always be living your life in that place.
God says in Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. And the flame shall not consume you.” 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. You can wait on God and trust Him. The seasons of hardship and even the deepest valleys will come to a conclusion, for God’s glory and by His grace.
Lord, I admit it’s easier for me to think my troubles are an exception to Your presence rather than a reminder that You are there. And I realize it’s easier to feel stuck where I am today rather than remembering that You always see it through. Thank You for showing me that the circumstances aren’t nearly as important as Your constant and faithful presence in my life—no matter what, no matter when, and no matter how long! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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