Death Valley in southern California has a reputation for being a foreboding place. So do the Badlands of South Dakota and the Everglades of south Florida. There are many undesirable places in the world. I’m going to talk about one of them today.
We read in the 23rd Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” The valley of the shadow of death – now that’s a place you would rather not be!
Haddon Robinson in his little book on the 23rd Psalm says,
“When we think of a valley, we usually imagine a pleasant lowland sweep bounded by sloping hills. But the word for “valley” that the Psalmist uses refers to a dreadful place – a home for vultures by day and a haven for wolves and hyenas by night… For the valley that the Psalmist pictures is an actual place in Palestine – a chasm among the hills, a deep, abrupt, faintly lighted ravine with steep sides and a narrow floor… Hidden in the shadows in this dark pathway are dangers – serpents coiled to strike a wolves ready to pounce upon a sheep to destroy it.”
Wow! That’s not a nice place to be! There are shadows and dangers and lots of scary things. Yet, the Shepherd will sometimes lead His sheep through that ravine in order to get to higher ground where the pasture lands are more abundant and the water supply more plentiful. Dark, foreboding valleys sometimes lie in our pathway, too – a difficult experience, the loss of a loved one, or even our own death. But the Shepherd is still there going before us, and that makes all the difference in the world!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Hey – I’m not afraid of the dark! Jesus is there!