In The Valley...Is It Death Or Life?

Are you gripped with fear? Now there is hope.

by Lura Langenback

© August 15, 2000

Psalms 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."

If you have joined us for the other verses in Psalm 23, you have noticed that God wants us walking in His path, enjoying His peace and rest. He is the Leader and provider of that rest and peace. Did you also notice that He talks about that in the first three verses? The Lord is the Shepherd. Please take a moment to think about this before going on to the next verse because the theme has not changed at all.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death". It is important to notice that the words 'yea, though' mean 'even though' or you could say 'despite the fact that' and it would be accurate as well. Then, 'I walk through the valley of the shadow of death'. Did you see the assurance right at the beginning of the verse? It says 'even though'. No matter what I may be facing, I still have that peace that I saw in the first three verses. 'I really do need that assurance if I am going to walk through a valley of death, right?' But it does NOT say that! Most people think the verse reads 'walk through the valley of death'. No, it says 'walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death.' Did a shadow ever hurt anyone? So many folks are running from shadows. If only we could grasp what the Lord is trying to get across to us. Take another look at the verse. We are walking THROUGH this valley, not setting up camp, not building a house, not even visiting a relative.

I am reminded of when I was a kid, with a childlike imagination, trying so hard to go to sleep. It was dark. There were shadows everywhere, some even looked like monsters. Under the bed lived the dragons and ghosts that might leap out to get me, if I relaxed for just a second. When I was really scared, I called out to my parents. They came in, turning on the light. What happened? The shadow monsters disappeared!! There were no dragons, no ghosts. The best part was that they reassured me that I was in no danger, that they were right in the next room if needed. God is telling us that He is even closer; right here, right now watching out for you, taking care of you, turning on the Light for you. When you seek God first (Matt. 6:33), He gives you the assurance that you will find Him.

"I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Now how in the world can the author say that they will fear NO evil? He (David) had the assurance that God was with him, no matter what. Again and again, God tells us 'Fear not.' (examples: Gen. 15:1, Gen. 21:17, Gen. 26:14, Exodus 20:20, Deut. 1:21, Joshua 1:8, I Kings 17:13, Isa. 41:13, Matt. 1:20, Luke 1:30, Luke 2:10, Acts 27:24. There are 63 verses in the bible using just the words 'Fear not.' I gave you a few.) See? The Lord is with him and he knows it. He says 'for thou art with me.' His comfort, rest, and peace is in God, that He is walking with him all the way THROUGH the valley of the shadows. We have not been given THE spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."). It is very important to see that God is not interested in having you in fear for any reason. In fact, He is quite clear that He does not want fear to be part of your life at all. What comfort!!!

"thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." The rod is used for protection or defense and the staff is for guidance, for steadiness. If we have God's rod and staff, then it follows that we would be able to use those items. How? We seek God first. He provides protection, peace, rest. He has been saying this throughout the Psalm. He has not let us down, has not run away from us. He's helping us THROUGH the situation, the shadow of death. Or you could say that He is giving us the Light to go through the situation. What an AWESOME God He is!! What a wonderful Jesus, Who is the Shepherd that leads us.

Throughout this Psalm, there is comfort, rest, peace. God is NOT giving us fear. If you are gripped with fear, feel like you are living under a dark cloud, please consider talking to Jesus today. You are not here by accident. The Lord has drawn you. He has a plan for your life, something so wonderful that you can not possibly think how awesome it could be. If you haven't yet given your life to Jesus, He does not have the authority to give that plan to you. Do not allow another day to go by without seeking Him.

Click Here for verse 3 of the study on Psalm 23.

Click here for verse 5 of the study on Psalm 23.