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
When I read about the valley of the shadow I sometimes remember driving through a place called Sugar Hollow. Though everything might seem sunny on the approach to the hollow, dark shadows would begin to intrude across the road as it twisted and turned into the entrance to the hollow. The hills on both sides were steep and they cast such a shadow that in the late afternoon drivers quickly put on their headlights. The brightness of the day disappeared as we passed through that mile.
In the same way, God has chosen to lead us through a region called “the valley of the shadow of death”. The presence of a shadow tells us that we are close to the object which is blocking the source of light. The closeness of our sins bring darkness into our lives but Psalm 23 gives us some lampposts to light the way to our Father’s house.
First Lamppost -He is with us
When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant he was afraid and ready to quietly abandon his hopes of marriage and happiness at her side. But God told Joseph to not be afraid because Mary’s miracle child was to be called – Immanuel “God with us” Matthew 1:23
Second Lamppost – God prepares our table
On the night that Jesus was betrayed He prepared a table. He served the bread and the wine and then washed the disciples’ feet. Our greatest hope is in the God who prepares a table for us in the wilderness and in the middle of the darkest part of the valley of the shadow. He chooses in the middle of betrayal to offer hope, life and forgiveness. There is no brighter light to shine in our dark places!
Third Lamppost – He anoints our head
When David remembered the day he was anointed he would have remembered that God had chosen him even when everyone else had forgotten about him. God also remembers us and has a plan of restoration so awesome that it will be so much that our cup will overflow!
He leads by walking with us through the valley. He leads by providing all we need in the darkest places of our lives. He leads by choosing the path of restoration for us that will lead all the way home!