December 6, 2005

December 6, 2005

excerpted from "Our Journey: A Daily Walk in the Word" at

December 6, 2005 — Tuesday
One Year Journey: Daniel 3-4; 1 John 5

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 23:1-6

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, US TV networks devoted many hours to covering memorial services. I was struck by how often Psalm 23 was read during the services. It is appropriate and fitting to use this Psalm to comfort grieving families. But the reference to the valley of the shadow of death is actually broader than it appears.

In his excellent commentary Exposition of Psalms, Herbert C. Leupold states, “The Hebrew word used contains no reference to death as such, but it does refer to all dark and bitter experiences—one of which may be death. So in the common use of the passage, the thought of death need not be excluded, but the reference is certainly much broader.”

The famous phrase could be rendered “even though I walk through the valley of deepest darkness.” The death of a loved one is a valley of deep darkness, but there are other valleys we face in life that can be incredibly dark. The point is this: Whatever valley you are facing, the Shepherd will walk through it with you.

The problem with being in the dark is that you have no reference point. You don’t know where you are. You’ve lost all perspective and all sense of direction. You hesitate to take the next step because you don’t know if you’ll land on terra firma or if you’ll flail in thin air. We hate to be in the dark. It may be in our career, a relationship, or our health that we suddenly experience its stifling ways.

Are you reading this during a dark moment in your life? Is the light of hope far removed from your circumstances? Then take comfort in this truth: You’re not alone. The Great Shepherd is right there with you. You can’t see him but he can see you. He knows exactly where you are. And today he will give you exactly what you need. You may be in the valley of deepest darkness, but you still have the Light of the world lighting your way through it. —Steve Farrar

seeking: Lord, what have you revealed to me about your power over darkness? How have you changed my perspective this day?

responding: What can I learn from facing dark times? How has God revealed his light and love for me when things have been cloaked in hardship? What other Scriptures encourage me when tough times come?

Lord, I thank you for the light of hope and truth that you have revealed. Help me to follow that light and not turn to my own devices. I love you and worship you with all my heart.

following: Darkness cannot overcome God’s deliverance.

excerpted from "Our Journey: A Daily Walk in the Word" at

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