Last week, we saw how we are in need of a shepherd. God refers to us as sheep over 200 times in Scripture.
The psalm starts with, “The Lord is my shepherd”. What follows is our benefit and our blessing.
A God Centered life doesn’t fear.
In our life we will do incredibly bold things for Jesus Christ and other times struggle with being cowards for Jesus. We feel inadequate. Why? Fear.
Fear of not being enough, fear of letting people down, fear of not providing, fear of not being strong enough, fear that we are just going to screw up again, fear of disappointing, fear of being wrong. Fear gives us insecurity.
God knows fear is an issue for us and he deals with it in verse 4.
Walking Through Darkness
“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.”
A translation of death is deepest darkness. Can we relate to this? It is talking about dark times, difficult times. Deepest darkness can be the loss of your child, loss of a loved one, divorce, financial loss, physical illness, or chronic pain.
We know darkness. God is knowable but he is also incomprehensible. We don’t get what He is doing all the time. He is with us and we should fear no evil.
Deut. 29:29 “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.”
CS Lewis said that when we get to heaven our first words are going to be, “of course”.
We don’t always understand why valley moments are happening. It can confuse us. Not knowing can put fear in us. God tells us to fear no evil. We can walk in confidence and assurance. Why? God knows what is happening. He knows the outcome. He knows He will be enough for us during those times.
The psalm reads, “as I walk through”. Walk through means we don’t stay there. That the valley isn’t a stopping point. We pass through and when you get through a valley you start climbing a mountain. That means we will end up on top of a mountain.
The valley is just a passing through time. I pass through the shadow. Does a shadow hurt us? Can a shadow hurt us? No.
As I pass through the valley, I fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
No Darkness with God
Psalm 139:11-12 tells us, if I say, “surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will become night” even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.”
Dark times are not dark for God. He sees clearly where we are going. God is not confused or lost. We can say God, I don’t understand. He says keep walking with me I see just fine.
We like Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to his purpose.”
We believe it, but sometimes it is hard to be confident when we are walking in the dark.
Jesus told us before He ascended that He was sending something better, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is inside of us. God is in us.
It is during the dark times we are made stronger. How? Because we cling more strongly to our shepherd. We grab tighter.
God’s Rod and Staff Bring Comfort
Your rod and staff, they guide me, they comfort me.
The staff keeps the sheep going in the right direction. The shepherd uses it to guide the sheep. The rod is protection. The shepherd uses it to ward off the enemy.
God is with us. God has a plan. His rod and staff bring us through the valley and to the mountain top.
If we look outside our walls, we are looking at an emergency room. People are walking in the valley of the shadow of death and they have fear. We need to be bold and bring them Jehovah Rohi.
1. Read God’s Word – Read and memorize Psalm 23
2. A Place of Prayer – Ask God, have we trusted Him in the valley? Have we been fearful?
3. Battle – Start each day asking God for boldness and to show who I can invite to Christmas Eve service and share Jesus.