Psalm 23:4 - Part One

I would like to spend the next few posts talking about a verse that is typically reserved for funeral services.  And while it is certainly applicable at the time of grief over the loss of a loved one, its effectiveness and purpose doesn't end there.  In fact, it wasn't until recently that I realized just how much meat and message is contained in that one little verse, and even in just the first half of the verse, which is what I would like to look at over the next few days.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. - Psalm 23:4a

Like a hungry vulture, I want to pick this verse apart, beginning with the word "though."  David says, "Yea, though I walk," not "if I walk."  As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I must tell you that hardships are inevitable.  They are a part of life.  We can't journey to the mountaintops without going through a few valleys.  Don't let the trials of life sneak up on you or surprise you.  Jesus assured us this life would be full of tribulation. (John 16:33)  That's the bad news, but if we continue on, we'll see that there's really no need for tears.

Yea, though I walk.  Don't you love that word--walk?  To me, it implies many things.  If the psalmist had said "I run" or "I hasten" or "I hurry," I would certainly understand.  As a hiker, I comprehend all too well that there are certain surroundings that cause us to quicken our pace.  When the light is fading fast, it's time to speed up.  When you've just spotted a bear, it's time to hurry along.  When the area is no longer pleasant, but a bit frightening, it's time to make tracks.  But in the midst of this deep, dark valley, David says, "I walk."

In my mind, the word "walk" here displays a calm pace, as if David knew and understood where he was heading and trusted the path laid out before him.  He was not running in fear, but neither was he standing still, refusing to accept the direction in which the Lord was leading.  David appears confident, composed and resolved.  The Lord led, and David followed.

Where?  We'll talk about that tomorrow.