May 31 - Kate Sayre, People of Abundance, Part 2
Updated: Jun 4
Last week Greg started the People of Abundance series on Psalm 23 which reminded us we have everything we need with the Lord as our shepherd (Psalm 23:1). On Sunday, Kate Sayre blessed us with the second installment to the series by doing a deep dive on verse 4.
Psalm 23:4 NIV
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.
The darkest valley (or “the valley of the shadow of death” KJV) referred to here is a sharp contrast to the green pastures David talks about in verse 2. If you envision yourself relaxing peacefully in a green pasture with the Lord ensuring no harm comes to you, a transition to a vision of yourself trudging through a dark valley is not a pleasant one. Your personal valley may appear as a particular diagnosis, financial unrest, a job loss, the death of a loved one, or any number of frightening things. During those difficult times you may wonder, “Why has God taken me out of the pasture?” “What did I do to deserve this dark valley?” or even, “Why has God left me here?’
This verse serves many different functions. One is that it tells us “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,” not “even if I walk through the darkest valley,” essentially guaranteeing the dark valleys will find us in our lifetime. But it also reveals why we have no reason to be afraid:
“You are with me.” In God’s presence we will find peace. We find evidence of this throughout Scripture. For example, John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
“Your rod….” Shepherds used rods to fend off predators. In the same way, the Lord will protect us from our enemies. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
“…and your staff they comfort me.” The staff was used by shepherds as a tool to guide their sheep. When we stumble in the valley, our Father will pick us back up. Proverbs 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Some of us may currently be in a valley we fear we may never come out of, but take heart! By saying “we walk through” the valley instead of saying “we remain in” the valley, this psalm reminds us He will never abandon us and there is hope on the other side.
Throughout your difficult days, lean into your Father who promises to be with you, but also allow yourself to be comforted by other members of the flock. God has put fellow believers in your life for this very reason. Allow them to comfort you, counsel you, and pray with you. And when the day comes that God leads you back to green pastures, your brothers and sisters will be there to rejoice with you!