You ever have one of those days where you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death? That line is from Psalm 23. I really wish people would quit using that Psalm at funerals, because it is a psalm of hope…not death.
The lexical aide for my bible explains the term for the “valley of the shadow of death” is Tsalmâveth. And it is a poetic term for the very thick darkness. It is most well known for its appearance in Psalm 23:4, where it means that God will lead His people (sheep) safely through a matter, no matter how dark it is….
Because in life there are two times in life that things are dark. When we are disobedient to what God want us to do….
Psalm 107:10-14 – 10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High, 12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help. 13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces. (NKJV)
And when the forces of darkness are pressing in on you…even though you can’t really pinpoint something that you have done. Because when you are trying to walk God’s path of righteousness for your life…the adversary, the devil….wants to kick you off of that path. That is Tsalmâveth.
That is why Psalm 23 contines to say in verse 4 – I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
In other words….you are not going to die…it may be dark for a little bit…but that gentle nudging that you feel is God saying,”I am here.” That is why we can be comforted.
And hey…on both sides of a valley is what? A mountain. It is so true that we are either, in a storm… just coming out of a storm….or getting ready to go in to a storm…
But that is just God making you stronger for the next mountain that He wants you to climb.
Go back to verse 3…
Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (NKJV)
See…it if for HIS NAME’S SAKE! He wants to show the world…and the universe for that matter how much He blesses and protects those who want to follow His path of righteousness. When you really look at the history of God’s people on the earth, he uses Tsalmâveth to get His people ready for all of the great things that have happened to break through the forces of darkness.
So be encouraged if you are in the darkness. It is just Tsalmâveth. And God is there gently tapping you with His rod to let you know that He is there, and with His staff He will prevent you from going off of the path of righteousness.
Grace and Peace, Dan