Many of us know Psalm 23. There is a beautiful song by Marty Goetz called Psalm 23. I just listened to the song on his House Of Worship that he does every Tuesday and Friday evening. He shared how when his wife, Jennifer, was battling cancer she had to “walk through the shadow of death.” He pointed out that she walked through it even though she wanted to run through it. WOW!!!! I prefer running when I am facing the shadow of death. Then he reminded us, it’s just a shadow – not actual death. Another WOW! Actually, I did a bit of deeper dive into this passage this morning.
The Hebrew word for our “valley of the shadow of death” translation is actually sal-ma-wet, which means “darkness”. Some translations say dark shadow instead of valley of the shadow of death. Either way, they are both technically a bit off. Psalm 23 is about how to live life with God as our Shepherd. “Valley of the shadow of death” refers to those dark times in life. Financial, medical, relational, emotional, etc. trials are where we are to walk through and not fear for He is with us.
1 The Lord is my shepherd,
I will not be in need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For the sake of His name.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life,
And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever. ~ Psalm 23 NASB
My favorite segment on the Ellen Show is in October when she makes her producer go through a haunted house. He hates getting scared, as do I. I have never been to a haunted house exhibit and never will. This segment is as close as I will get. It’s hysterical as he yells at the actors in the haunted house and hides behind whoever was tasked to walk through with him. Reality, if I was forced into a haunted house I would RUN to the end. I don’t like darkness and scary. So in life, when I am in these dark times, these valleys, I want to get through as fast as I can. Don’t we all? But God says we are to WALK though these dark valleys. Walk not run. Wow. My perspective has changed from a few simple words Marty Goetz spoke in his worship service. Walk not run! It’s just a shadow!
Friends, walk through the struggle you are facing in life right now. If you aren’t in one, pray for those who are. Pray that they fear no evil and know God is with them and that He will provide comfort. He overflows our cup with His love. Psalm 23 is written by a shepherd – David – who knows the fear of sheep and what they need to feel safe. God is our shepherd and wants us to feel safe in His care. Let’s WALK each day with Him and when the shadow of death, a.k.a. darkness, hovers over us. Fear NOT, He is with you.
Dream Big! Pray Big!