“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 ESV
In his darkest times of despair, David knew he was not alone or abandoned. Coffman gives us insight into the Shepherd-psalmist’s thoughts, “I was watching over my father’s sheep in those days, but I am now keenly aware that Someone was watching over me.”
In all of our chaos, in all of our confusion and in all of our conflicts, we have the same awareness that Someone is watching over and walking with us. In this classic passage, David reminds us of the power, passion and peace of our Someone.
He Is My Confidence. David was confident in the One in Whom he believed. He reminds us, “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid . . . “ (Ps 23:4 MSG). The disciple, John illustrates the powerful provision of God’s love, “We know how much God loves us, and we are able to put our trust in His love . . . God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 Jn 4:16, 18 NLT). My confidence is in Him.
He Is My Companion. In every situation or struggle, Jesus is walking with us, side by side. David assures us, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” (Ps 23:4). The author of Hebrews reminds us Jesus’ words, “Be content. I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Heb 13:5). He is always here and will never abandon. In the face of overwhelming opposition, Moses tells Joshua of God’s promise, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Duet 31:8 NLT). My companion is Him.
He Is My Comfort. The psalmist writes, “Your shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” (Ps 23:4 MSG). Clarke writes that the “rod and staff” were used for defending sheep from enemies and delivering sheep from entrapment. We are told that our enemy seeks to “steal, kill and destroy”. (Jn 10:10). But, the Great Shepard come to give us live to its fullest. The prophet Nahum encourages us, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7). He is my comfort.
For years, a Shakespearean actor would end his performance be reciting Psalm 23. Each night, those in attendance would respond with thunderous applause. One evening, a young man in the audience asked if he could give his rendition of the Psalm.
With a soft voice, the young man began to recite the words. When he was finished, there was no applause. There was no standing ovation as on other nights. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping. The audience had been so moved by the young man’s recitation that every eye was full of tears. Amazed by what he had heard, the actor said to the youth, “I don’t understand. I have been performing Psalm 23 for years. I have a lifetime of experience and training – but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight. Tell me, what is your secret?”
The young man quietly replied, “Well sir, you know the Psalm, but I know the Shepherd.”
He is your Confidence, your Companion and your Comfort.