You Are With Me
By: Amanda Idleman
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” - Psalm 23:4
This entire chapter talks about how God is our Shepherd and consequently, we are like his sheep. As our Shepherd, the text lays out the ways that God looks out for us, provides for us, guides us, and in the dark season of life he is right there with us. The chapter ends with the promise of Heaven, stating we will one day live with God in his house forever.
The picture in verse 4 is of a shepherd who is unable to get his flock back before nighttime. In the dark, the shepherd would move from the back of the flock to the middle so the sheep could gather around him. This beautiful illustration paints a picture of a caring God that never leaves us alone in the dark!
This verse has been recited as comfort over those facing the end of their lives. The words are rich with meaning and inspire peace for the most dire moments of our lives. Christianity.com explains in their commentary that these words point to the great hope that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, at a steady pace, to reach our final destination which is revealed in verse 6 of the chapter. Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When we pass through the valley of death we have the great hope in the fact that we will one day dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Enduring Word’s commentary explains that we merely face the “shadow of death” because Jesus came and bore the full weight of sin and death on his shoulders. David’s words point us to the great Rescue that would come and die in our place so that our death would merely be a passing from this life to an eternity in Heaven. We can live without fear because God leads us and takes our place on the cross!
One of the most difficult parts of our human existence is that we all will “walk through the valley the shadow of death” and it’s a dark and painful place to be. We may first experience this valley when we walk alongside a loved one as they pass from this world into Heaven. We may mourn the loss of a miscarriage, infertility, the darkness that disease brings into a life, and of course we all have to face our own mortality eventually.
It is so very comforting knowing that God is with us in the midst of the hardest things we will face. This has to be one of the most applicable truths of the Bible: when we face darkness and death, God is by our side! He provides what we need to pass through these moments without fear.
God gave us His Son so that we would be spared us the full weight of our sin through His great sacrifice on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” When you invite Jesus to be your Shepherd or leader, you no longer have to fear death. We just have to pass through its shadowed valley to reach an eternal home in Heaven.
In your moment of distress, be encouraged that God is closer to you than ever! He is in the middle of the dark with you, holding your hard, and gently leading you towards His goodness and mercy. These moments grow a strong faith in our hearts.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a contributing writer for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
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