Psalms 23 Part 4

Read Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  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.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Now, let’s look closer at verse 4. It says, “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.”

Think about this for a moment. The Lord, our shepherd, feeds us in the pasture, He leads us on the trail, and accompanies us into the dark ravine where unknown danger lurks. After He has made us to lie down in green pastures and He has quenched our thirst with streams of water and He has restored us and led us in the paths of righteousness for Him. Remember we represent Him. Also know this, we are going to go through some dark times in our life.

We might get bad news about a loved one. We might get bad news about our health. We might get bad news about our job. We are going to feel like we are in a dark place. David says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” He walks with us through the valley.

Think about this, the longest shadows are cast in the late afternoon even as the heaviest tests often come at life’s sunset—it is during that time that we must go through “the valley of the shadow of death”. If you are a wise person by that time you will have chosen your Shepherd.

On the narrow trail, the shepherd “led,” but in the most difficult hour of all He is alongside: “you are with me.” In trials, friends and family can only accompany us so far… and then we are alone. But He will never leave us.

Look at Hebrews 13:5. It says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I can remember times when I felt so alone that no one understood what I was going through. God reminded me that He was with me. I can remember some dark times in my life when there seemed to be no one to cry out to, but God was there to hear my cry.

When we are walking through the valley He is there with His rod to protect us from attack, and His shepherd’s staff reaches out and pulls us near when fears come our way. And when we make it through the valley He is there as well, waiting.

Think about all the saints in the Bible that faced trials in their life. How did they make it through those trials? It was with God walking by their side. Think of the Old Testament heroes… Abraham when he went to sacrifice his only son, it was God that provided the sacrifice. What about Jacob when he went to meet his brother for the first time after he had stolen his birthright, it was God that brought forgiveness between the two brothers. What about Joseph when he was thrown in the pit by his brothers and later sold to slavery, it was God that placed him in the palace as governor of Egypt. What about Daniel when he was placed in the lion’s den, it was God that closed the mouth of the lions. What about the three Hebrew Children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, it was God that kept them from burning up in the fire.

Think about all the times that Peter, Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Mark, John, and all the other disciples spent in jail because they preached Jesus, it was God that brought them through those valleys. We are going to face valley’s, but it is God that will take us through those valleys.

David wrote, “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.”

I Choose Christ

This past June, my wife and I, decided that it was time to put our house up for sale. We had many memories made in this house. Both of our children have found friendships in the cul-de-sac that we live in. We have seen our kids learn to walk in this house. It has been a great house to raise our young family in. Our decision to move was based on the fact, we felt God wanted us to be closer to the church that we are pastoring in the town next to us. So we put the house on the market.

This past Saturday, we got a call from our Realtor saying that we had an offer. The next day we met with our Realtor to accept the offer. We were extremely excited. Finally we could begin looking for the home that we believed would be the home that we could build our future on.

One day later, we get a call from our Realtor saying that the buyer did not pass her credit check and that the deal was being terminated. We, as you could imagine, were devastated.

During this whole ordeal I have reminded myself that I am not the master of my domain, God is. The day that I asked God to control my life was the day that I agreed to place my life in His hands. Whatever direction He leads me in, I go. Whatever doors He opens, I accept. Whatever doors He closes, I accept. I gave up what I wanted for my life the day that I surrendered my life over to Him. God is my master.

Just because I think it is my will does not mean it is His will. I believe sometimes God is testing us. I believe He wants to see how far we will go to completely trust Him. When I chose Christ, when I chose to have faith in Him, I chose to forsake all and follow Him.

The disciples chose total surrender. They left everything behind to follow Christ and the direction that He had for their life. I love what Mark 1:16-20 says. It is the scene where Jesus sees Simon and Andrew fishing. Jesus says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Verse 18 says, “They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Notice how there was no hesitation. This was not a decision that they had to think about.

A little farther down the way, Jesus comes to James and John fishing. Jesus gives them the same option. Verse 20 says, “they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him. Please understand, this was the family business and they left it all to follow Jesus. They didn’t think twice about it. They didn’t ask their father what he thought. They just left and followed Christ.

They knew there was something different about this man and they had to find out what it was.

When I made the decision to follow Christ I knew there was something different about this man and I wanted to know more about Him.

There may be days when I have disappointments, there may be days when I don’t understand all that He is asking me to do, but I know that He has never led me astray and my life is better for it.

There will be other buyers that come around, I’m sure of it. God has my best interest in mind. If you have chosen to follow Christ, then He has your best interest in mind as well. Don’t settle for second best, settle only for God’s best.