Shadow of Death

by Pastor David Speas

Psalm 23:4 - 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.

Whenever I hear Psalm 23, I'm usually attending or preaching a funeral.  It's sort of the go-to passage for preachers at graveside services.  But David didn't originally write this passage to be used as a funeral dirge.

Originally, this text was written as a statement of faith in God!

In David's day, travel was rough.  Without the aid of cars, trains, or airplanes, travel had to be done on foot.  To add to the difficulty, there weren't well kept roads with police officers stationed every couple of miles (think Anderson County ;).  Highway robbery was a constant problem-especially in certain valleys that offered more natural cover.  In these places, highwaymen could lay in wait for unsuspecting travelers until they were right above them.  By the time the travelers realized they were about to be attacked, it was too late.  The robbers would beat, rape, and kill their victims.  Imagine the fear those travelers must have experienced whenever they traversed those notorious roads!

Perhaps this is what King David was referring to when he spoke of the "valley of the shadow of death."  He was using an illustration everyone could relate to.  In essence, he was saying, "Even when I go through those places of deepest fear and anxiety, I don't have to fear."  Why?  "Thou are with me."

What a beautiful thought!  There are no circumstances that this life can throw at us that need to cause worry or fear!  If God can help us traverse the most dangerous of roads, He can protect and provide for us as we walk through the roads of life.  He is with us.

Imagine what a difference it would make if those travelers entered those valleys surrounded by an army of soldiers.  I imagine they wouldn't feel the least bit afraid!  We have something better!  We have the very presence of God accompanying us on our journey!  Be encouraged knowing that God is with you-even in the tough places!