Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Life In The Valley

Submitted by Lara Cook
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

I chose the NIV version of this verse because I really like the fact that it says darkest valleyinstead of the valley of the shadow of death, which is the way I heard it my whole life.  I think I have had an aversion to this passage because that one verse always stuck out when I was a child.  The valley of the shadow of deathmust mean that this is all about death, and I didn’t want to think about death or dying at all. So for most of my life, I have avoided studying Psalm 23.  But the darkest valley?  That definitely speaks to me. 
First, a little bit about valleys – valleys are in-between.  They are on the way to somewhere.  They have an opening on both ends.  It is not a trap.  But often when we are in a dark valley it feels very much like we are in it for good.  The going may be slow in the valley but it is important to keep moving.  Even one step at a time is productive.  It is never easy in the valley.  There are mountains and dark shadows.  We can find ourselves hiding in the shadows instead of moving forward.  Sometimes we sit down and don’t know what to do. Sometimes we build a house and start a garden, because valleys can be hard places to find our way out of, and the way out is usually not easy.  Satan loves to steal our hope and when we let him, we quit the journey.  Don’t give up.  Valleys are dark places but where there are shadows, there has to be light.  We have to look to the light when we are in the dark valley. The important thing to remember is that we are never alone in the valley. Our Shepherd is with us – I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  He will keep us safe and give us the strength we need to make it all the way through the dark valleys.  The valley is not our purpose.  The valley is just a place we are passing through. 
The truth is that we usually pass through many valleys in our lives.  In the Bible study Psalm 23, Jennifer Rothschild tells about three valleys mentioned in the Bible.  One of those valleys is the Valley of Baca.
The Valley of Baca –In the Hebrew language, Baca means weeping, so many scholars believe the Valley of Baca is a place of great sorrow.  All of us usually go through this valley at least once in our life.  Whatever experience it is that causes it, grief takes a toll on us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
Three things we can do when we are in the Valley of Baca:
·      We can rely on our Lord to be our strength when we can’t be strong on our own.  He can handle anything we lay on Him and He wants you to be honest with Him.  
·      Remember it is a pilgrimage.  Decide you are just passing through.  Hold on to those you love and who love you and take it one step at a time, but don’t lose hope.  Keep moving.  
·      Spend time in worship and praise –some of the sweetest sounds to our Lord’s ears are sacrifices of praise.  
If you are in a valley today, remember that you will come out of it.  Your Shepherd is right beside you, and He will guide you.  He sees you when it feels like He doesn’t.  Cling to His promises, steep yourself in His word, walk in prayer, and trust the Shepherd who leads you and know the path. 

Scripture to Claim:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  Psalm 84:5-6

Devotional Archive