After a long break, our home Bible study, where my husband teaches, is back in Psalm 23. The first three verses have been refreshing as we relished the amazing truth that the Almighty Lord is our soul-satisfying Shepherd. (Click here to see all the posts on this study.) As we continued on the trek through this well-beloved psalm and entered the fourth verse, darkness seemed to cover us, but upon closer inspection, we were not alone … our glorious Shepherd was leading the way.
“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)
For the sheep, the valley was not a desirable place to be in. Floods can occur during a storm. Nights were cold and gloomy. Within the crevices of the canyon walls, predators lurked, lying in wait for the helpless sheep. Surely, the Shepherd would not put his sheep in such a predicament if it was not meant for their good. He does not lead them to the dark valley to leave them there. Rather, He intends to take them through it in order to bring them to the lush, higher ground.
But, while the sheep are in the darkness of the valley, they can be confident that their Shepherd is present, leading them through unfamiliar ground, protecting them from attackers, and lovingly disciplining them when they go astray.
Are you presently in the valley? Are you so despairing in your circumstances that you sense the shadow of death looming over you? May the light of The Lord, the Shepherd guide you. The Lord may see fit to take you through this route in order to lead you to greener pastures ahead. But until then, fear not … He is with you.
The Valley of Vision
(by Arthur Bennett)
Lord, High and Holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
(Photo credit: argreen)