Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.Psalm 23:4(NASB)
David was getting old when he penned these words which have meant so much to so many. In this middle section of this Psalm, he changes from talking about his Shepherd Who leads and guides him, feeds and waters him, protects and revives him, to addressing the Shepherd Himself: "For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
David knew of the functional task of the shepherd's rod, which could be used to stun or kill a ferocious beast that was attacking a vulnerable little lamb, could be used to rescue his straying sheep, and could be used to count each one as they filed past the comforting shepherd's crook, and into the sheepfold for the night.
But no matter what dangers stalked the progress of the little flock along their pathway, their shepherd was there to guide them and protect them. And so David was able to say: "I will fear no evil for You are with me," even when passing through the dangers and distresses of the valley of deep darkness.
This Psalm, which has meant so much to so many, has not lost its powerful impact on all who understand and apply its truths to their own life. The valley of the shadow of death becomes the pathway to life and peace to all Who follow the Good Shepherd Who gave his life for His sheep.
The valley of deep darkness and gloom is flooded with light and hope, for the Son of Righteousness illumines the path of all Who have become sons of light. And as we follow the path that God has scheduled for us throughout life, let us trust Him in all the disappointments and distresses that we may face: "For Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
Lord, thank You that You are the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and You are my Good Shepherd in Whom I trust. Keep me, I pray, from all dangers that stalk my path, and may I find true comfort and protection, provision, and peace in You, to my life's end. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.