June 15, 2021 – Tuesday
Psalm 23:4 NIV
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley [Or 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.
Today’s verse is from one of the best known Psalms, if not the best known. If you would like to review the whole Psalm go here. I chose verse four as it fits what I am looking for, verses where God says not to fear in one way or another. The idea for doing so comes from an article I read titled ‘Don’t Freak Out’: The Importance of Following the Most Common Commandment in the Bible. I recommend the article and the website.
While a great many people know of the 23rd Psalm, they also have a favorite verse or two from it and the verse for today is one of them. The version I was most familiar with wrote of the valley of the shadow of death which in my head I always read as the valley of death probably because I first learned it as a young teenager. It was not until I read a Christian novel (the title escapes me) that I realized my error.
When my parents would take us six children to visit our grandparents, our mother’s parents lived in a valley at the bottom of Lantana Fire Tower Road. It was only a mile or so up the road to the top and then maybe a quarter mile to a small general store. I would make the trip every so often on our visits. Then came the effort to get back before dark when you could hear coyotes and mountain lions (or so we were told) in the recesses of the valley. If I cut it too close and darkness fell, I would see coyotes, mountain lions, and bears in the shadows as I hurried down the road all the while resolving never to be this late again.
When David was a shepherd, he would sometimes end up in dark valleys where light was minimal and it would seem like a valley of the shadow of death as lions and bears could be there in the shadows for real. That was when he would overcome his fear by trusting in God. And though David carried his own staff that he could lean on or use it as a rod to protect his flock of sheep. He sees God ready to protect him as well or be there for him to lean on. God became his rod and staff. As a result, David feared no evil.
If we put our trust in God like David did, we too can lean upon Him and know He will protect us. In fact James 4:7 says, Submit yourself onto God, [then] resist the devil and he will flee. I added the [then]. Notice by submitting ourselves to God we are effectively already leaning on Him. Then because we have submitted ourselves to Him, we are under His protection, and we have only to resist the devil and he will flee. David had clearly submitted himself unto God and he feared no evil. We can do the same.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You and Your Son are One and Your Son is my Lord and Savior, so having submitted myself unto You and Your Son, I have only to resist the devil and he will flee. This is and incredible blessing and promise. Thank You. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.