Welcome to volume three of the Psalm 23 study! We’ll be picking up with verse four.
Psalm 23, Verse 4
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
If you recall at the end of volume three, the Shepherd shifts from solely nurturing and refreshing to commanding His flock as He leads us through the paths of righteousness. We discovered that the path is tightly constricted by two “walls” – love for God (the Shepherd) and love for our fellow man. As we enter verse four, we encounter a darker part of the path in the “valley of the shadow of death.” King David does not give us a clear indicator of where we encounter this valley, but we know by his mention of it that it is an inevitable, unavoidable part of the journey.
The Hebrew word yalak, translated as “walk” here, means to “depart; proceed; go away.” (Strong’s Concordance) This is very encouraging because we know then that this dark valley is a place that we as followers of the Shepherd will pass through and not dwell in. Another use of yalak that is noteworthy for our study is found in Hosea 2:14 where God speaks to Hosea concerning the restoration of
God says to Hosea that He will restore Israel
after bringing her, or walking her, “into the wilderness” called the “ Valley of Achor”
or the . Valley of Trouble
Unlike the valley of trouble in Hosea, the valley of the shadow of death is not a place that we are led into as a rebuke or a punishment from God. However, the trouble that we see in both valleys is only temporary and God promises to be with us and to restore us after this dark part of the journey. Having to endure these troublesome periods during our walk with the Shepherd should not surprise us. Jesus confirms in the New Testament that following Him requires carrying a burden and losing earthly comfort and security. (See Matthew 16:24-25) He promises though, that enduring these dark times for His sake brings about tremendous blessings, favor, and reward. Take time now to read Matthew 5:1-12 to refresh your mind and spirit of these promises.