No doubt that Psalms 23 is one of the most publicly read, printed and memorized chapters in the Word of God. These six short verses capsulize the provision, protection, triumph, and hope of the child of God in the challenges of life. The word pictures of this beautiful passage are powerfully impacting.
Psalms 23 begins with our Lord, the good shepherd, leading us in green pastures, still waters and paths of righteousness. How does it get better than this! Life is good, tranquil, and so peaceful.
Then verse four abruptly makes a transition saying, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. Some say the “shadow of death” was an actual physical place that was narrow and extremely dangerous because of ruthless bandit activity. One thing for sure, with such an ominous description as “shadow of death” it would be avoided if possible.
The “shadow” word is of special interest to me. Who is casting the shadow? Could it be a foreshadow of the Great Shepherd, Jesus who took the keys from Satan of death, hell and the grave? Could it be the “shadow” is cast from the one that is walking beside us taking us to eternal life through the door of death? “ To be absent from the body is to be present for the Lord.” Instantly, transportation awaits the child of God. There is no down time. There is no fear because He is with us in life, through the passage of death and forever throughout all eternity! This is why Apostle Paul could say, “Death is swallowed up in victory” and the One that gave us that victory is the one that walks with us through it.
Psalms 23 doesn’t park with verse four but continues with preparing a table for us in the presence of our enemies, anointing of our head, our cup overflowing, goodness and mercy coming along side of us culminating in the ultimate prize of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Life does have twists and turns, but the Great Shepherd has put our final destination into Heaven’s GPS system. He will never leave us, in good times or bad, but we must have a listening ear and obedient heart to navigate His eternal plan for us.
Pastor Ruth Kaunley