Today’s Scripture: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

In Israel, there is a real “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” It is a valley located on the road that connects Jericho and Jerusalem. These days, there is a modern, four lane road that connects the two cities, but the old Jericho road can still be traveled. On some of our trips, the bus drivers have agreed to take us on the old Jericho road. There are some very tight turns, and at times you end up looking out of the tour bus window straight down into the valley.

The Valley of the Shadow of Death is an inhospitable valley, at one time filled with predators and robbers. Today there are still signs warning tourists to stay in large groups as a deterrent to mountain lions. It definitely does not fit most people’s definition of a vacation destination.

There are good times in life and there are bad times in life. Sometimes in life we must go through the valley of the shadow of death. But the Bible doesn’t say, “stay in the valley of the shadow of death”, it says “go through…” There will be times in your life when we have to go through something hard, scary, or dangerous, but we can say with confidence, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

The shepherd’s rod was a club used for protection; his staff was the pole with the hook, used to pull the sheep out of danger. These two things protect and guide us. Sometimes we need to trust that He is there with the rod and staff to protect and guide.

We never read about the sheep carrying the rod and staff; that is a task left solely to the Shepherd. Let the Lord do His job, and He will guide and protect us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.