The Valley of the Shadow of Death


I have been meditating on Psalm 23, particularly the verse that talks of walking through the Valley of the Shadow Death. In Israel there is a real Valley of the Shadow of Death. It’s a steep, deep and narrow canyon. The sun only hits the bottom of it when it’s directly overhead at high noon. The rest of the time the bottom of the canyon is dark. David probably led his sheep through the valley of the shadow of death as he was growing up. As you look in the Bible, the term “valley” also refers to all kinds of rough times in life.

  • Joshua talks about the Valley of Calamity
  • Psalm 84 talks about the Valley of Weeping
  • Hosea talks about the Valley of Trouble
  • The reference to a valley in Ps 23 in Hebrew actually means The Valley of Deep Darkness

This is what I find a very powerful thought. Up to this point in the Psalm, David as he writes has been speaking to the reader about God. He starts out and says to the reader, Hey let me tell you about the Lord. He is my Shepherd etc etc.

But then he gets to the verse on the dark valleys of life that he has walked through. He makes the statement, Even though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death…..and then he changes who he is speaking to. He forgets the reader. He starts to speak to God. He says, For you are with, your rod and staff they comfort me.

The rest of the verse is talking to God.

It’s like David, as he was writing, starting to think of the tough times in his life and as he does that, he runs into the presence of God. What a great picture for us. When we go through the valleys of life. The valleys of deep darkness, run into the presence of God. Run to intimacy with God. His rod and staff will protect you from harm and will guide you in the paths of righteousness.



Categories: Sermon Notes

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3 replies

  1. That’s really thninikg out of the box. Thanks!

  2. No Source needed. David wrote this Psalm from his personal experiences as a Shepherd. It is a fair comment to say that David probably walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death seeing he is drawing on this valley to be a metaphor for troubled times. I did not state that he definitely did….I am merely saying that its reasonable to conclude that he probably did due to the first person experiences he has drawn on for the rest of the Psalm’s construction

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