Preface: This week, join me as we experience God’s love through His Word. We’ll use Psalm 23 as our text, taking one verse each day and spending a little time considering what it means to be loved by God.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4 NIV – New International Version)
Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
(Psalm 23:4 GNT – Good News Translation)
Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
(Psalm 23:4 AMP – Amplified Bible)
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.
(Psalm 23:4 KJV – King James Version)
As we continue with Psalm 23, we see the progression of verse 4 building upon verses 2 and 3. First comes rest (verse 2), then the work of the journey (verse 3).
Wouldn’t it be great if life were all sunny days with plenty to eat and drink, no concerns about safety or problems to be overcome? The psalmist is realistic and knows that times of trial and tribulation are as much a part of life as the good times.
In verse 4, the psalmist points out that the Lord is with us even in the dark times of our lives. God is not a fair-weather friend – he is the faithful friend who stays with us through everything. If we sense we are far from God, it is us who have strayed, not God.
Notice how the psalmist portrays the impending doom – as a sunless valley, as darkness, as if death itself owns this spot we must journey through. And yet, God loves us so much that he goes before us and shows us that while it looks foreboding and scary, we are safe in His care. Shadows can be scary looking, but they are not a real threat.
Notice the tools the Shepherd carries to provide for us and protect us – His rod and His shepherd’s staff (also known as the shepherd’s crook). And these tools are in the experienced hands of the Shepherd, powered by His mighty right hand and strong arms.
Knowing God loves us and provides for us and protects us and is right there with us brings great comfort through these hard times.
May you sense God’s presence when you go through trials and tribulations in life.
May you walk in faith, knowing that your Shepherd is with you, guiding you through hard times when the way forward is not clear.
May you find comfort in His Word, reminding you that He loves you and will never leave you or forsake you.
May you abide (live each day, moment by moment) in His care.