Psalm 23:4 –“ 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.”
David wrote Psalm 23 when his son Absalom tried to become king and David ran away to Gilead. David met Barzillai, a shepherd. Barzillai got wool for making clothes, also milk and meat for food. He gave David food and shelter so David thought – God was like his Shepherd, a guide and these ideas went into Psalm 23. David needed a shepherd; he wasn’t self-sufficient but poor in spirit.
In this scripture, David affirms that God is his Shepherd. God supplied all of David’s needs – When we desire God, whatever He provides is more than what we need.
- God made David lie down in green fields – God led David to the best and safe watersides where he could rest. We, God’s sheep, will be well provided with food, place to rest, all our needs supplied by our Shepherd and therefore, we will also sleep easily.
- God our Shepherd is our guide – The valley of the River Jabbok was very dark but David was safe with God. When we are in God’s will, we will be protected and guided to the right and easiest way to do things. Also, we don’t always know what we need and what is best for us, and so we need our Shepherd’s help.
- God brought David through the shadow of death – God led David through all the wild places to where Barzillai lived. He will do the same for us, if we believe in Jesus. Jesus died and God raised Him from the dead. We must all die. If we believe in Jesus, God will raise us from the dead to eternal life. Like bringing a stray sheep back from danger, God leads us back to His fold if we let Him.
- David had no fear of evil because he had God – When we follow the Lord, we may still walk through the valley of the shadow of death, not be in, but walk through it – a fearful experience like death, a place or situation where we are hedged in and surrounded. We can only bear it because we consciously remember that our Shepherd is with us. God has not given us a spirit of fear. When we have God with us, we feel empowered and fear cannot stay in the same body and mind.
- God guided David through correction – Shepherds use the rod and staff as their tools – ‘rod’ means to take control to ward off potential predators and ‘staff’ as a sturdy walking stick to gently guide the sheep in discipline and to also pull branches down to them to provide them leaves to eat. It comforts us to know that God will correct us when needed.
If we believe in Jesus, we become one of his sheep. and can say, “The Lord is MY shepherd.”