Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Think back to some of the times when you have faced a “dark night of the soul,” as Matt described.
While suffering is never enjoyable, one of its benefits is that it shows us when we are following false shepherds. Matt specifically mentioned the “shepherds” of health and wealth. When we place our confidence in our bank accounts, what happens when we come up short one month on our mortgage? Or can’t afford groceries? When we place our confidence in our health, what happens when we get sick? Or find ourselves on the other end of a freak car accident? These are false shepherds and cannot provide for us the way Jesus can.
Reflect on the suffering you have faced in the past or may be facing presently.
How has it revealed to you the ways in which you might have followed false shepherds? Where did you place your confidence? In what ways has this lead to fear?
In verse 4, David proclaims that he will “fear no evil” while facing the valley of the shadow of death. The reason he gives for this is because God is with him.
How does God’s presence remove our fear of evil? In what ways would a deeper focus on God’s presence have changed the way you responded to difficulty in the past?
David shows that not only is God with us, but God comforts us in the midst of trials.
Have you experienced this? Why is God truly the only thing that can comfort us no matter what valley we are facing.
How can God comfort our world in the valley we currently are walking through?