Today's Devotional Thought
January 18, 2010 by Wendy Foreman
The 23rd Psalm
I have fallen in love with the 23rd Psalm. I have been studying it and want to share with you this week the things that I am learning.
I had written last week on the previous verses in this passage of Scripture. If you look at those verses you will notice that they all have “He” at the beginning of them. He (meaning God) makes, leads, and guides us. However, in Verse 4, where David is talking about being in a valley, you see the word “I” in it. God does not desire for us to be in the valley of the shadow of death. If we are there, then we may have gotten there on our own. Our shepherd was not out in front of us. We may have gone ahead of Him and strayed.
Let’s think about being in a valley. When we are in a valley that usually means that we are surrounded by mountains. It is like we are in a maze and sometimes we can come to a dead end and find a big mountain in our way. What do we do then? Scriptures tell us that if we have the faith of a tiny mustard seed we can ask the mountains to move and they must. When we find ourselves in valleys, though, we can be a little low on faith so what do we do then? I read something interesting this week…it said turn back around. The path that leads you into the valley will lead you out and back to your shepherd and to repentance.
Be careful in the valleys. There are paths there that can distract you from the shepherd. When sheep find themselves in unfamiliar territory they cry out to their shepherd and he comes and finds them. We need to cry out to the Lord, our shepherd, when we find ourselves in the midst of unfamiliar territory. God is called the light of the world. When we are in those dark valleys He can come and bring his light to guide and direct us back to where we need to be.
Another thing that we can see in valleys is shadows. Shadows are a funny thing. I remember growing up in the country where there were no street lights, so when it was time for bed, it was pitch black. I thought a night light would help. Once I had the night light, however, then there were shadows. I remember being so scared and closing my eyes and praying that when I opened them all the shadows would be gone. I would have myself all worked up. I lost so much sleep over those shadows. Now you might be laughing but think about it….When we walk home in the dark or leave someplace when it’s dark we look around. If we think we see something, it can almost paralyze us. We might take off running or screaming. We could fall or cause unnecessary chaos, only to find out there was nothing there in those shadows. We end up hurting ourselves when it there was really nothing to fear. All that what there was the fear of the unknown and our imagination runs away with the thought that we could get hurt or possibly even die. The verse continues on to tell us that even though I am there in the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Why is that? Because the shepherd is always there for us. Cry out to Him.
The sheep are not afraid when they know that their shepherd is near by. When they hear something or see a shadow they look up to make sure He is there and if they see Him then they keep on doing whatever it is they were doing. This picture is beautiful to me. It reminds me that as long as God is close by and I am walking in His ways He will always protect me and guide me through every situation in life.
I will continue on with the last part of this verse on Wednesday. I am looking forward to sharing with you the 23rd Psalm.