Union Ridge Church

June 30, 2020

by Reverend Dan on June 30, 2020

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me .”

                                                                                                Psalm 23:4a


The shepherd spends the first three verses of the psalm providing for his flock. Next, we begin to see how he comforts his flock.

 When we come to verse 4, we see a couple changes. First, in verses 1-3, the sheep are in the sunshine. In verse 4, however, they’ve moved into the shadows. This reminds us that God not only provides for us through good times, He comforts us through the dark seasons of life too. He leads us through the valleys as well as through the green pastures.

Also, notice how the pronouns change at this point. In the first three verses, David talks about the shepherd, using “He” and “His” to refer to God in the third person. When we come to this part of the psalm, however, we’re going to see that he speaks to the Shepherd in a more personal manner: “YOU are with me, YOUR rod and YOUR  staff… YOU prepare… YOU anoint.”

This tells us that when times were tough, God became more real to David. I know that feeling well, and I’m sure you do to.

So how does God comfort us when we face problems?

First, there is the comfort that His presence brings.  Look at the first part of verse 4: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” The word “Yea” can be translated, “even when” Not “if” . . “when”. The truth is that we will go through valleys in our lives. And the picture here is of the shepherd leading his sheep through rocky ravines and narrow gorges, the most dangerous places for sheep because it is where death lingered the closest in the predators who waited there. These were places where shadows would dance across the trail, scaring the flock.

The experienced shepherd knows this is where predators wait and so he is ready to protect and comfort the sheep.

One other thing to notice here is that we walk “through” the valley. I recently preached a sermon where I said when you come to a valley, you can’t go over . . . can’t go around . . . have to go through. That’s the only way. But here we are promised that we don’t go it alone. And we don’t have to stay there. We just have to keep on walking, knowing that on the other side of the shadows there is light. How do I know this?

The next time you’re scared of the shadows, remember this

1.     A shadow is always bigger than what it appears. It’s scarier than what it really is.

2.     And more importantly . . . wherever there is a shadow, there has to be light somewhere close. Shadows can only exist where there is light. So, where there is a shadow, the light is not far away.

And then the greatest comfort there is for a sheep. We can deal with the valley of the shadow of death because we can say, “You are with me.” The comfort of a shepherd is not a life without valleys. It’s that in our valleys, He will be with us.


“Father, Thank you that even in the valleys of our lives, You are there. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”



Rev. Dan