Summary: The valleys of life are not dead-end streets, because God provides a way for us to get through.
There is one thing that we all can be sure of God is always at work. When you are at some crossroads in your life, when you are forced to face the trials and tribulations of life, when you are at the point of not knowing what to do you can always trust in God because He does. Every one of us goes through valley experiences in our lives, in fact these valley experiences are a part of life. Every time we go through these valley experiences we tend to wonder why God allows us to go through them. In this 23rd Psalm, David is speaking of a deep, dark valley where there seems to be no ray of light and you feel like you are not going to make it. But, valleys are not dead-end streets and the disappointments, frustrations, discouragements, and dilemmas of life although they are valleys, shouldn’t be classified as a diaster. David even refers to them as a shadow.
Nonetheless,I submit to you that the valley is the only route to our own personal promise-land; there is no alternate route. When the Egyptians chased the Israelites to the Red Sea there was no way for them to go around it. But God made a way for them to cross—when we journey through the valley we must always keep in mind that God will make a way. We must always keep in mind that His grace, His leading, and His mercy will never fail. His way may not always be the same as the one we would have imagined. In other words, He may do the opposite of what we expect Him to do. And sometimes inadvertently or otherwise we have acquired the habit of trying to tell the Lord exactly how we want Him to help us and ignore the fact that He knows just what to do. When we are journeying through the valley, we sometimes tend to question God’s timing.
I know this because I am guilty of it myself, I don’t know how often I’ve moaned the words Lord why won’t you help me? But I was overlooking the fact that all I have to do is trust Him and stop holding on to the thought or better yet fear that God will wait too long to do something. David here, the writer of this beautiful Psalm takes a personal and possessive view of just what God means to Him. He does something that we all should do in respect of God and who He is. David says, the Lord is my Shepherd. He was not debating whether or not He was some one else’s Shepherd, but when it came to his relationship with God it was a personal endeavor—the Lord is my Shepherd.
When it comes to our relationship with God, we should all feel this way. I would never question whether or not He’s yours, but I know for a fact that He’s mine. David knew firsthand the duty of a shepherd because he was a shepherd himself; he faced the lion and the bear to protect his father’s sheep. He reasoned that God was his protector, just like David had place his life between the beast and the sheep, Jesus Christ place His life between Satan and you. David was journeying through the valley but he didn’t make the valley his permanent home. I believe that from the beginning David’s trust in God told him that the valley was just a temporary place. There is a question that all of us must answer.
Where Do You Do Most of Your Living?
The question is where do you do most of your living? Do live on a mountain or in a valley? Now I’m speaking metaphorically, that’s what David is doing here in this 23rd Psalm although the valley of the shadow of death is a physical location. It is also another name for the road between Jerusalem and Jericho where the Good Samaritan helped the man along the way. It was a winding road that was very steep, and shepherds had to take their flocks through it on the way to fields. People would hide in the caves to steal the lambs to eat, so David wrote the entire 23rd Psalm metaphorically with this in mind. Where do you do most of your living? This is a question that only you and God Himself can answer, is it on a mountaintop or in the valley?
Since we are speaking metaphorically let me remind you that when the Bible speaks of mountains—the mountain is normally considered a place of revelation and awe. To have a mountaintop experience means you have received some insight and some inspiration. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy because all your bills are paid, or that you have very little worries because if that we’re true then there are a lot of unbelievers who are always on the mountaintop. The mountaintop for a Christian is where we meet God, when we hear a “Rhema Word” and we can see the promise-land. We all love being on the mountaintop, a place where we can feel God’s presence. A place where we can clearly hear God’s voice and we are able to follow His leading because it is clear to us, but the valley is quite a bit different.