Even 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.
–Psalm 23:4

Have you had a near-death experience? Did you feel God’s presence with you as you were going through it? King David knew God was with him the many times he “walked through the valley of the shadow of death.” Dr. Snyder explains the what this Psalm is celebrating.

“So this psalm celebrates that aspect of God’s character that permits us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death but makes sure that death doesn’t strike us. He uses the imagery of the shepherd’s life since it was in his own experience of shepherding real sheep that he grew in his understanding of his powerful Creator. There were dangers around every corner for the shepherd, and more than once David faced certain death (1 Sam. 17:34-37). Yet as he passed through the many valleys under death’s shadow, he was learning the ways of God and was comforted by God’s abiding presence.

“So what’s the good news for us? It’s this: God is God of all life and of all our lives. He allows us to walk into and through the valley to train us in the same way he trained David. He’s showing us his mercy and saving power so that we’ll trust him more on the next trip. There is no evil to fear on this earth because he permits no more of it than we can face at any given time, and he brings us victoriously through it all.

“When in his wisdom and providence he decrees that real death will meet us in the valley, it still holds no terror for us believers because in Jesus Christ the sting of death has been removed (1 Cor.15:55).”

TODAY’S PRAYER: Usually we have more than one thing to pray for. It’s okay to ask God for daily protection from all forms of peril under death’s shadow along with our main need or desire.