A Life Changing Thought From Psalm 23 Verse 4


I love Psalm 23. (I hate singing it at funerals though).

Anyway, one of the most powerful thoughts that has encouraged and sustained me through hard times comes from verse 4:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The reason I find this so encouraging and inspiring is that David, the author of the Psalm has been talking to the reader.

He is talking about His God as the great Shepherd…..”The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures etc…”

Then as he is telling the reader about God, he remembers dark times and he says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will not fear…..

In my mind it seems that he pauses here….Maybe he was thinking of all the times that he has walked through tough times. Through the darkest of valleys. Through pressure, problems, torment. Maybe he was remembering that God had been there the whole time.

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
  • This verse in Hebrew actually means The Valley of Deep Darkness

As David is thinking this through he forgets the reader. He changes tense and begins to speak directly to God. He had been telling the reader about God now the Psalm has become about him talking to God.

The rest of verse and indeed the rest of Psalm is addressed to God….

For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Here is what I think:

When we are in life’s darkest valley, forget “the reader” which these days are the people on social media, and the ‘crowd’, and change your focus as David did, to Almighty God, who is with you and who will comfort you.

  • Who will anoint your head with oil
  • And who will cause your cup to overflow – which is speaking of abundant goodness.
  • Your God will cause goodness and mercy to follow you all the days of your life.

For me, the lesson of Ps 23 is one of focus.

In the Dark Valleys change your focus to God.

You may want to also have a read of My Powerful Meditation on Ezekiel 37 – Valley of the Dry Bones.

Ps Peter Pilt

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Categories: Theology

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7 replies

  1. The point in Psalm 23 that grabs me in dark days is ” the shadow of the valley of death”. Death albeit physical or emotionally is only a shadow.
    A preacher once said walking along the side of a road towards the traffic a huge truck travelling very fast hit him but it was the shadow of the truck that darkened his stride for a period. The shadow had no power to kill and hurt in any way regardless of its height or width or density.
    As Christians physical death is but a shadow.

    • The thing is Kathryn is that this Psalm is not referring to dying at all, thus why I hate singing it at a funeral. Its so in the wrong context and Christians miss the point by thinking it is about death. It simply isn’t.

  2. Lovely, Peter. I love Psalm 23 too.

  3. Thank you Peter for sharing that word. It has encouraged me to continue to focus on God to get me through on this journey.

  4. Excellent meditation. I’ll be checking my focus today!

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