Psalm 23 is my favorite Psalm. I read and recite it over and over because of the lessons that keep popping up.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, i’ll fear no evilPsalm 23:4
Valley of Death
Although creativity and diction are a few of the many tools that any poet or writer must have, the psalmist was many a times writing from personal experience. I imagine that as a shepherd, David, perhaps, had to pass through this place several times. Might be you don’t now that the valley of the shadow of death was a physical location, somewhere between Jericho and Jerusalem. (Did the guy, rescued by the Good Samaritan, meet his fate here?)
The valley of the shadow of death is a ravine overhung by high precipitous cliffs, filled with dense forest, and well calculated to inspire dread to the timid and afford a covert to beasts of prey. I imagine the ‘foolish’ sheep straying from their good shepherd, David, and going into this place, and the shepherd had to follow them and ensure that each one of them went back home safely.
He could not stand the wrath of his father or domineering brothers by going home having lost some few sheep. Here, danger lurked, not just to the sheep, but the shepherd as well.
David was a brave man, really brave. In the battle field, he had told Saul that ‘when a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep… I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it’ (1 Samuel 17:34).
But in the 23rd psalm, David explains the source of his great courage and strength- the fact that his shepherd was watching after him. He says ‘the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,’ (1 Sam 17:37). His great faith in God made him to be the bravest warrior among all the Israelites gathered in the valley of Elah.
The Lord is my shepherd. But like the foolish sheep which would walk through the dangerous valley and survive just because they had a tough shepherd, I also survive through many dangerous and hard moments by the grace of God.
From Psalm 23, I know that it is not about me, but about my shepherd, and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…