Monday, March 14, 2016

12. Sadness through the Valley: "Yea, though I walk through the valley" (v. 4a)

Psalm 23:4a

March 14 

                Continuing from yesterday, Adrian Rogers said of the literal valley located in Israel called "The Valley of the Shadow of Death"
“...But over the centuries (a river) has cut a ravine, a chasm, if you will, a little Grand Canyon, in those Judean hills.  It starts up there and it flows down, down, down, down, down 1300 feet below sea level to the Dead Sea.  This ravine, this canyon, is called the valley of the shadow of death because it is so narrow that at the bottom in some places it’s only about 12 feet wide. …”
A shadow can be threatening, even scary, but in all reality a shadow has no substance. In fact, the very presence of a shadow means that somewhere, there is a light.



     There is a little word at the beginning of this verse, in the King James is “yea” and no it is not a cheer like “yea, team!” (I believe that would be “Yay, team, anyway.”) The word in Hebrew is equally short, GAM, and is also translated as “moreover” or “even still.”

     So, after my Shepherd has made me, led me, restored me and led me again, even still I will walk through the valley. In other words, this part of the journey is not unexpected to my Shepherd. Yes, He could lead me away from this valley, but just as he was in charge of the other leading, I must trust Him in this dark portion of my journey.

    The word “though” implies that we will ALL walk through dark valleys. Some translations put it as “even though,” signifying that it’s not a matter of if, but when. We could read the first two words as “Even still and even though.” Without the Shepherd I would not make it through. With the Shepherd, I cannot do otherwise than walk through this valley. He will not leave me alone.

     I will not run through this valley, and neither will I stop and give up. I shall walk through this part of my journey. It is a process, a vital part of my growth. All of my paths thus far have led me to trust Him and now my path is a point of what Henry Blackaby would call a “crisis of belief.” Do I really trust my Shepherd.

     I will not run through nor run from this valley. I will not stop, delay nor avoid this valley. I will walk, without pensive or frantic urgency nor complacent denial. I will walk but not alone. I know this valley is not the end of my journey, it is a passage. “This too shall pass.”

     As a sheep on this journey for now 54 years and about 45 years with the Shepherd, I have found my growth and confidence in my Shepherd does not grow in the pastures, nor on the mountains but in the valleys. Growth occurs in the valley, not on the mountaintops.

"Gracious Shepherd, I glorify You because I know that your leading will never take me beyond your grace will keep me. I will walk through any valley as long as I know You are with me."