“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.” –Psalm 23:4
Quoted at funerals and during times of grief, Psalm 23:4 offers assurance of the Shepherd’s comfort and presence. At times, Israeli shepherds may have to lead their flock down into a shadowy valley to find water. Sheep don’t understand the concept of death, but they do understand the concept of shadows – and they hate them. And as they wander around in that valley, trying to avoid the shadows, they may begin to stray from their flock. So the shepherd strikes his staff on ground so the sheep can hear where they are supposed to follow.
Have you ever felt like you were in those valleys? Grief and sorrow shadow your vision of the Good Shepherd, until you’re not even sure if He’s still on the same path as you. The Shepherd doesn’t promise that we’ll always be able to see His presence, but He does promise that He’ll never leave us.
If dim eyes prevent you from seeing the Shepherd, then open up your Bible and listen. Can you hear His staff? He’s never left you, and His staff is still tapping the ground in front of you, leading you safely out of the valley.
Submitted by Emily Ertley
Daily Reading: Jeremiah 27-29
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