Most people have heard of the valley of the shadow of death and a lot of people might know that the words came out of the 23rd Psalm that was written by King David but do most people know what it means to talk of the valley of the shadow of death? A simple explanation of what it could mean is when you think of King David’s life, King David fought many battles in his life and he often had people after him like King Saul and so he had to hide out amongst the hills. Back in those days if you fought a war you would know that one of the worst places you could be was in the valley because if you were in the valley then you could be attacked from the hills, sometimes there could be a whole army hiding behind the hills and these could gang up on you and suddenly ambush you so being in the valley was in a sense the valley of the shadow of death because it could look like certain death if you were suddenly ambushed because the other army would have the advantage over you so the valley of the shadow of death could be seen as any situation you might find yourself in that is life threatening or perhaps death is imminent. If you suddenly had a heart attack and found yourself in an ambulance being raced off to the hospital and you were there struggling for your life then you could say you are in the valley of the shadow of death, if you were diagnosed with cancer or any other illness and told you only had a year or two to left to live then you could say you are in the valley of the shadow of death.
King David went on to say in his Psalm that “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.” The rod here means that if you were a sheep and suddenly you were attacked by wild animals, wolfs etc., then Jesus, your good shepherd, would pull out His rod and drive these predators away or you might find yourself being tapped on the side with the shepherd’s staff, this nudge or tap on the side will be comforting for you because it is like the voice of your shepherd telling you which way to go so as to avoid danger. The hook on the end of the shepherd’s staff is there to hook you out of any danger that you might find yourself in so should you find yourself in the valley of the shadow of death then you should be like King David who was comforted to know that Jesus was with him there because he went on to say “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” and on top of this, you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever: this means that no matter what happens or how many days you have left on this earth, there will still be good times and good things that will happen to you and if you have Jesus’ mercy in your heart and received Him as your saviour then you really don’t have to fear death because should you die or when you die you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.