Summary: The difficulties of going through the shadow of death.


A. A Shepherd would take his sheep up a very steep cliff to travel over a mountain. The trail would only be about 2 ft. wide. If a sheep would lose his foothold he would slide into the Valley (Valley of Death) to his death. However, the shepherd speaks to each one of his sheep, comforting them that he is near and they have nothing

to fear. (Dallas McGill @sermoncentral)

B. A valley is a deep ravine or gorge. (Robert McKenzie)

1. It could be a valley of sickness.

2. It could be a valley of financial loss and ruin.

3. It could be a valley of disgrace and dishonor.

4. It could be a valley of bereavement.

5. It could be a valley of age.

6. Or, as David refers to here, it could be the valley of the shadow of death.

C. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible afflictions,

or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under.

Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies

like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in

this are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death; the shadow

of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley deep indeed,

and dark, with miry; but the valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts of God’s people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in the valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with His staff. There is enough of the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. (Matthew Henry)

D. We are not to fear shadows.

1. Dying is a shadow.

2. The shadow of a dog cannot bite you.

3. The shadow of a sword cannot kill you.

4. The shadow of death cannot separate the believer from life.

5. The reason some people fear death is because they aren’t dying yet...God will give dying grace.

E. Why Darkness Scares Us (Elmer Towns)

1. We are afraid of the unknown.

2. Darkness covers the evil of evil people (John 3:19).

3. We stumble or fall.

4. Darkness is Satan’s kingdom.

Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off

the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but

rather reprove them.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

F. Why Does Death Scare Even the Believers?.

1. We cannot see what is there.

2. We do not want physical pain.

3. We do not want to give up anything.

4. Because of sin, we have doubts.

I Timothy 5:24 “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment;

and some men they follow after.”

5. I will lose control.

6. We have not finished everything.


A. What Does Psalm 23 Teach Us About Opposition? (Elmer Towns)

1. The existence of evil.

2. Evil is in conflict with you. The name Satan means adversary.

3. You should not let evil scare you.

I John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because

greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

4. You can overcome evil.

Romans 12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

5. The shepherd is your deliverer.

6. Deliverance comes by relationship to the shepherd.


1. Not fear death. “I have the keys of death” (Rev. 1:18).

2. Not fear trouble. “Walk through the valley.”

3. Not fear death shadows. “The valley of the shadow of death.”


A. One thing that settles the sheep is the presence of the shepherd.

B. Footprints in the Sand. One set of footprints. He cares us.

Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

27:10 “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”

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