through the pasture// the valley of the shadow of death
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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.
Everyone has likely heard this verse. David really lays down the realization of his worldly surroundings when he tells God "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."
ok first, as scary as "the valley of the shadow of death" may seem, we are going to dig a bit deeper here, too. David penned these words from inspiration... divine inspiration. as he searched for the words to describe the way we are on earth, detached from the Heavenly realms, he finally describes this valley. and this valley has layers..
think about the valleys that run between mountains. the deep rolling cool and damp valleys. now imagine a valley overrun by a dark shadow. now imagine that shadow caused by death itself. ladies, it goes further.. the original Hebrew word that "death" was translated from is "tsalmaveth", a death that is "the gates of darkness". we as children of God know that to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21) to die as a Christ follower is to go up to Heaven and live with our Father. but this death is nothing like that.. this is the death that keeps us in darkness and sin.
The valley, of the shadow, of a dark death....
and we are walking through it
this valley is symbolic of the evil that runs wild as we are here in our temporary home. this is the residual evil from the original sin. this is the depth of what we deserve, and we tiptoe around it without even knowing so.
we are surrounded by this death at all times, but it is possible to be comfortable because God is with us. God never promised that life would be easy, but He did promise to never leave us alone. He may need to correct us from time to time to get us back on track, but what difference is that from the rod and staff a shepherd uses to keep the sheep together?
David was a shepherd before he was a king and he could see the ways that God watched over him like the helpless sheep he was.. unaware of all the evil that surrounded him. though we can see what is happening around the world, we cannot know what God has saved us from each day. His sovereignty protects us much like the rod and staff protect a herd of sheep.
this unseen action by God paired with His eternal promise; this is where our comfort must come from