Psalm 23. For the past thirty years, I have been saying it nightly, with twenty of those year with my husband, following our devotions at night and before we went off to bed.
It is a very special Psalm. One of the most well known of the 150 Psalms. Many non-Christians will recite it for comfort.
David had been a shepherd for years. He knew his sheep and they knew him. They knew his voice. They knew they were secure with him. He would lead them to clean water, food to eat and a place to rest. He would also rescue them when they got on a wrong path or their lives were threatened in any way.
Now David is King and is the sheep. He has traded places with the sheep he once was a shepherd to. Now he knows full well that His Shepherd will be and is, more than adequate to meet his every-moment-need.
I have been following Dr. Rogers Psalm 23 study. He makes some wonderful observations.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou are with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Vs. 4)
Dr. Rogers writes, “In the Holy Land, there is such a valley. It starts between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, about 2,700 ft. above sea level and flows down to 1,300 ft. below sea level to the Dead Sea. This canyon is called “the valley of the shadow of death.” It’s narrow – – at the bottom in some places it’s only 12 feet wide. Even at high noon, it’s full of shadows. In Bible times there were bears, hyenas, leopards and sometimes robbers in its caves. There were steep places where sheep might fall. it was such a frightening place, shepherds named it “the valley of the shadow of death”.
“But it was a useful valley. In winter when there was not much grass in higher elevations, shepherds would take their sheep down to Jericho where the sheep would winter-in and feed on the lush grass that would grow. When spring came, the green Judean hills would grow bright with verdant color, and the shepherd would lead his sheep through that valley to greener pastures in the highlands.”
It could very well be that David had led his sheep more than once through that 12 foot wide canyon.
As we approach Psa. 23, we want to look for a moment at Psalm 22 and Psalm 24. Psalm 23 is the in-the-“Valley” Psalm. Psalm 22 and 24 are both mountain psalms but very different. (here we see the whole wheat bread slices with the Honeybaked Ham in-between.)
Psa. 22 foretells Mount Calvary, (the crucifixion of the Messiah, vss. 14-16, coronation, vs. 21).
Psa. 24 foretells Mount Zion (speaks prophetically of the ascension of Christ after His victory over sin and death and of His coming reign as King over all the earth vss. 7-10).
We are living in the valley, in-between the two mountains.
To the left, (Mt. Calvary): Crucifixion…..To the right (Mt. Zion) Coronation.
The one thing that we can be sure of is that we will die. For the Christian there is another possibility. If the Rapture occurs, then we will have no death date because we will go up with all other Christians into the clouds and meet the Lord in the air (1 These. 4:17). The death statistic is that one out of every one will die. We have the appointment – it has been made. Our Maker knows the year, the day and the time for each one of us.
There is a “second death” but a Christian will face a physical death only once. The “second death” refers to the non-believer only and is an ‘end time’ event.
This study is for the Christian only. The “second death” is another whole new ballpark. If you are wanting to check it out you will find it in Rev. 2:11, Rev. 20:6, Rev. 20:14.
One point of interest here. Reincarnaton. God’s Word says, “And it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The Word does not accept the reincarnation factor that so many believe in. We live once. We die once.
We all know we will walk through that “valley of the shadow”, but we do not know when it will happen, or what exactly will happen. We all know that God doesn’t take your life. All He has to do is stop giving it. In other words, here for a moment in time and then….gone.
We will pick up here next time, the Lord willing. (I will explain these last three words as well, the Lord willing.)
In His Hands……Marge