Read Time: 2 min
Have you ever been terrified of shadows? I vividly remember as a child wary to walk into any dark or dimly lit room. Whenever I wanted to take something from the room, and if I only really really needed it, I would run as fast inside, grab what I needed, and run out as fast as my little legs would carry me. As I ran out of the room I would always notice the dark shadows that lurked in the room. Sometimes a small curio’s shadow would resemble a tall, dark and sinister human being to me.
Looking back I realize that as adults we sometimes see dark shadows lurking around us – the Covid virus, death, losing a friend or family member, losing our job or losing our finances.
In Psalm 23, David paints us a picture of a sheep under a shepherd’s care. He shares some of the difficult things he experienced in life; one of it is in verse 24 which is while walking through the “valley of the shadow of death”, also known as the “valley of deep darkness”
In Biblical times, a person can encounter dark and deep shadows while walking a valley in the desert. One can never know what is lurking behind those shadows; it could be dangerous thieves, poisonous snakes or ferocious wild animals.
David in verse 4 gives us three assurances while walking through dangerous paths that are filled with uncertainty.
First, Trust God He is Present. “For you are with me”. The sheep walking beside the shepherd is secure because the shepherd is near. The Creator of heaven and earth is personally involved with His creation, you and me. He is always present with us. He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. If you are in the midst of fear and uncertainty, take courage, God is near.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6
Second, Trust God He is Powerful. “Your rod and your staff”. The shepherd’s Rod was used to defend his sheep from wild animals and his Staff was used to pull wandering sheep to himself. The Shepherd’s Rod and Staff was a symbol of strength for the sheep. When we look at God, what do we see? Do we see Him as all-powerful and omnipotent? In times like these, we can go back to our past and remember His power when He delivered us from impossible situations.
“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”Psalm 147:4-5
Third, Trust God He gives us Peace. “they comfort me”. The sheep found comfort with the shepherd. We can find comfort in God’s presence. While walking through our valleys of darkness, we can be extremely distracted by the “shadows”. Instead, we can stop dwelling on our fears and find peace dwelling in His presence.
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you“Isaiah 66:13a
God is our Shepherd, He sometimes leads us beside “still waters” and sometimes He leads us through the “valley of the shadow of death”. The Psalmist reminds us that in whatever place we are in, we can take courage that He knows the path and He leads the way.
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