King David touched one of the most general torments of human beings which is fear of death. As an ex-shepherd of sheep, David had a practical knowledge of what “shadow of death looks like when he said “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psa. 23: 4). Israel is land of hills and valleys. These valleys are dangerous all through the year. In the absence of rain, the valleys are dry with potholes. When rain falls the potholes are filled with water. This means the flock can fall into these potholes or pits anytime. The valleys are described as shadow of death. However, the shepherds know how to lead the flocks across these valleys safely. One other ways the valleys fit the description of “shadow of death” is that they are very dark even at day time. The shepherds again know how to lead the flocks across to safety. With the presence of the shepherds the flocks never fear the darkness of the valleys.
If we call the LORD our shepherd, we must know that the LORD knows the terrains of the ways before us. We are not supposed to be afraid in the darkest place of our lives on earth. There should be no reason for us be afraid of ugly circumstances before us when the LORD is leading us. King David had professional ideas of the rod and the staff of shepherds. The staff is a crook or metal instrument bent at the end. The staff is used to lose the flock from the thickets or pushes branches of trees away for the flocks to have easy passage. The staff is used to pull up any sheep that fell into a ditch too. The rod is used to defend the flocks from any attacker. So, the sheep or the flocks are usually comfortable at the sights of the staff and the rod.
As we read through or recite “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”, we are to feel comforted and peaceful when passing through difficult or fearful moment of life; knowing that the LORD is our shepherd. An environment may look frightening, yet we should believe that the LORD will use His staff to clear a way for us or strike the situation with His rod to save us. We should be able to believe that God’s promise of being with us and passing through horrible circumstances with us is practicable as found in Isaiah 43: 2. Hear it: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior” (NIV). The beloved, this is a faithful promise from the Almighty God, our Shepherd. Trust Him and remain confident in Him.
FATHER, I want to see your staff and rod comforting when face to face with deadly circumstances of life in the name of Jesus Christ.