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.  Psalms 23:4

The Shepherd’s Psalm is a favorite of so many who are born-again, and this verse from Psalm 23 is my favorite verse in this rich passage.

First, we are told that we will encounter trouble.  “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1)  James warned us that we would encounter “divers temptations”, or adversities and trials.  But even though we will be forced to travel though the “valley of the shadow of death,” we can still be confident, and “fear no evil.”

It is such a blessing to know that we are not setting up camp in the “valley of the shadow of death”, but that we are just passing through.  And even though we do pass through there, we can “fear no evil” because our wonderful shepherd, God Almighty, is with us.  Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

In addition to knowing that He is with us, we know that he also protects us and guides us:  “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  His rod, from the Hebrew, can also be translated tribe, shaft (of a spear or a dart), or sceptre.  That His rod can be translated tribe shows that “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3)  That it can be a shaft shows that He is there to fight our battles and protect us:  “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalms 91:4)  That the rod is a sceptre shows that He has authority, for His name is written on His thigh, His robe is dipped in blood, and He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

This verse says that we are not only comforted by his rod, but also His staff.  The staff can mean that it is a support.  God has no need of support.  But to us, He is an ever-present help in our time of need.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Perhaps the one sweet trait of this verse is that we travel through the “valley of the SHADOW of death.”  Death is but a shadow to those who know God Almighty as their Lord.  But always remember that where there is a shadow, there is a light on the other side!  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)


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