84: The Shadow of the Valley of Death


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What You'll Discover in this Episode:


The Valley of the Shadow of Death


One of the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ is He is also a sheperd.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;


We walk with Him. We talk with Him. It's very personal for me, the walk and life I have with my sheperd. He provides and I feed in the Word of God.

He leads us. He guides us. When the sheep need to know where the green pasture is and where the still waters are, they only need to follow the sheperd. He brings us to the right path!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil;"

Have you walked through this valley? Maybe you have a loved one died, or not physical death but unable to escape the valley of difficulties? The walk through a dark, fearful experience - the valley of shadow of death. We wonder why we pass through this and yet, we follow the Sheperd and this is so we gain empathy.

With empathy, you become a rescuer for another person because you yourself had been rescued. You lead them to the Sheperd.

I want to invite you to listen to the full episode as we dive deeper into Psalm 23!

  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • The Lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want.
    He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
    He leads me beside the still waters.
    He restores my soul;
    He leads me in the paths of righteousness
    For His name’s sake.
    Yea, 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.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
    You anoint my head with oil;
    My cup runs over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life;
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

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  • Luis Hernandez says:

    This came at a perfect time for me because I’ve been worried about how far people have gone astray from the shepherd. I fear that the gospel will be suppressed by the majority more than ever at this current time. However I still pray for a revival, and I acknowledge that nobody could ever suppressed God. We have all the prove we need to believe in Him and His gospel. I shall not fear for You are with me. We know the end of the story and He reigns as King. I will be feed and counseled among all the friction that comes with the division of our nation. So, I can preach the gospel with boldness knowing we have direct access to the knowing of God. They’re will ever more broken hearts searching for hope and we will have the remedy. I’m thankful that I have a faithful God that keeps his promises..praise God!

    • Angelica Lorenzo says:

      Thank you for the assurance Luis, when you said, “we know the end of the story and He reigns as King.” You have the heart for people as expressed on your concern to what’s going on around us, especially in our nation today. The world needs you, us, and the need is great and will be greater in the coming days.

      • Luis Hernandez says:

        Thank you, I feel that God has called me to the counseling ministry. I been praying for this and will be praying that he will keep me faith full so He can counsel me through this whole journey that he has just started in my life.

    • harry e innerst says:

      Good thoughts Luis. Just remember, the darker the world, the brighter the light shines. Just keep on shining the light of Jesus in this dark world. He will be coming back soon. Remember, He loves and cares for His saints.

      • Luis Hernandez says:

        Thank you, I live near Seattle and it has changed a lot, how ever there are still many faithful Christian there. People only talk about the riots but at the same time there are lots of God fearing people there. They just need to know the truth in Gods word

        • Audra Downs says:

          Hi Luis!

          I live across the water from you. I live in Port Angeles. My community of believers have been praying for Seattle, the Christians living there and for there to be a harvest of unbelievers coming to Christ in the midst the chaos and what our enemy has meant for evil, God can use for His Good purpose.

          I heard Pastor Wayne Taylor say that the Calvary Chapel : the Hill were able to minister to many people in that area where there was so much violence. Praise be to God that He is the Calm and Anchor in the storms of life. Indeed He is the Shepherd in such valleys as we have been witnessing in this time of unrest.

  • MichelleR says:

    What a beautiful message about our Shephard. Knowing that whatever happens in our lives whether it be in the valley of the shadow of death or at a table prepare for us He is with us. This shows who and what our beloved Shephard is for his flock. This is why we need to be in his presence daily to be reminded and filled up with his wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement. He will never leave us wanting for anything.

    • Angelica Lorenzo says:

      That was insightful and reassuring Michelle! Thank you for reminding us that ‘whatever happens in our lives, He is with us whether in the valley of the shadow of death or at a table He prepares for us.’ We all need that kind encouragement and ‘care’ from each other and people in general. We can’t encourage one another, if we’re not ‘in His presence daily and filled up with His wisdom and knowledge,’ like you said. Thanks again Michelle

    • Leslie Gonzalez says:

      That’s a great truth, that he is sovereign over all of our circumstances, whether it be a table or a valley. The most confident, joyful, and faith-filled Christians I know are always the ones that believe that there are no coincidences or chances with God. Thanks!!

  • Audra Downs says:

    Psalm 23:4 comforts with the words, “You are close beside me”. How that ministers to my heart right now. I can’t help but think about the last supper where Jesus is dining with his disciples, washing their feet, in John’s case sharing an intimate moment of friendship as John lays his head on Jesus shoulder. This touches me to my core because these beautiful truths are why I abide in Jesus, so I too can be comforted, loved, nurtured and ministered to by my Lord. First, He saved me from my depravity and now He shepherds me as he leads me on His path of righteousness for His Names sake. Psalm 23 is so relational and so tender. Every time I read through it, it is like balm to my soul.

    • Rachel Neglia says:

      “Balm to my soul”. Absolutely! I think it’s just such beautiful imagery that we relate to in a deep sense. God knows what we need in the depth of our souls, and this Psalm ministers to me on that intimate level, meeting needs I couldn’t even articulate. The still waters, green pastures, and then that incredible peace and reassurance of knowing He’s preparing a table for us, right in the midst of our enemies. It’s such incredible comfort in the midst of difficulty- not before or after, but right in the thick of it.

      • Tammy says:

        Rachel, I had to stop and comment on your post. Right at the end, you mention a point that is also true, that God is our comfort “right in the thick of it!” Just like in Matthew 8:24-25 when the disciples were “going thru” the storm in the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was with them during this storm and will be with us right in the middle of ours.

    • Ericka Tapia says:

      This is beautiful and oh so true! Psalm 23 is so comforting in all seasons of life. The first line alone, “The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want” gives me such a fulfilling feeling in my Heart. It tells me I need nothing else, nothing else matters, He is everything! As the Psalm continues it takes me on a tour of my life, so many times that I felt alone before I knew Jesus. Now I know I was never alone, that He was always with me, and that He continues to lead me. I will never feel alone again. That is a beautiful feeling.

  • Angelica Lorenzo says:

    Even those who don’t know the Lord are ministered by Psalm 23, and can’t help but find rest as they come across it either by deliberate seeking or by accident. Then again, I always believe nothing is an accident when it comes to our Shepherd. He is true to to being a “Shepherd” to us, His children, and to those who have yet to be. Because He loves everyone He created, and His will is for everyone to be saved and be with Him in heaven, our Lord, the true Shepherd, uses every word, every person, every circumstance, and everything in His creation, for the lost to find their way to Him. The sheep will know and is drawn to the Shepherd’s voice. I wish everyone in the world will know and answer the Shepherd’s call!
    And find out themselves, the Shepherd is here to satisfy, to give rest, to show the right way, to be their comfort in the dark valleys and not be afraid.

    • Rachel Neglia says:

      Yes, such a beautiful Psalm with such appeal even to non Christians. There’s a reason this Psalm is on plaques and pillows all over the world! We have a deep desire to have a loving Shepherd who is always there for us, even in our darkest times. May we continue to lead others to the great Shepherd and Rescuer!

      • Leslie Gonzalez says:

        Amen, I love that you can find those verses everywhere. God is good, It’s so thoughtful that he would leave pictures of his love for us, like in the Shepard’s psalm.

    • Luis Hernandez says:

      What a beautiful scenery you just describe in how Jesus calls us closer to Him. I wish there where more that could recognize that it is the lord himself drawing them near to him. But many don’t know that God speaks to them in all the ways you just described. What a great revelation, thanks you

    • MichelleR says:

      This shows that the word of God does not go null or void. It is eternal and intimate. It speaks to the saved and unsaved. Enjoyed your comment. Blessings!

  • Rachel Neglia says:

    Even as we follow the Lord as Shepherd, we are still brought through valleys. And through these dark times, God rescues us and gives us empathy so that we can then be equipped to lead others to the Rescuer. This is encouraging in that it reminds me that God has purpose for me even in the midst of suffering, but it’s convicting as well because it challenges me to take my eyes off of myself and my suffering so that I can not only see my Rescuer, but be better able to lead others to my Rescuer.
    I am so encouraged by the change from “He” to “You”. What beautiful intimacy David had with his Shepherd. Faith based on fact. I know for me, it has been times of suffering where I’ve felt the closest to the Lord. He is near to the broken hearted. A Shepherd who never leaves us or forsakes us, who is with us in the darkest valleys. What a wonderful Counselor!

    • harry e innerst says:

      Rachel, I love your thoughts on David. He certainly knew well this valley. He certainly learned the way out of the valley was to forsake his own ways and to turn in repentance to follow his Great Shepherd.

    • Ericka Tapia says:

      I too was in aww of the intimacy between David with his Heavenly Father. I believe it is a great example for us as counselors as well as to those we counsel. God is our Father, and as a parent there is nothing more beautiful and personal than when my children cuddle up with me or simply have that heart to heart conversation in which they show that love and trust they have for me. I can only imagine it is the same for our Heavenly Father.

    • MichelleR says:

      Rachel, Thank you for your transparency! You speak for many that are going through or have gone through a suffering. In our times of suffering your right in stating we put the attention on self and not on the Rescuer. This is a beautiful reminder that we have a loving God that will never leave us. Blessings!

    • David Bowman says:

      Rachel, I absolutely agree with your points. It reminds of Luke 7:47 (But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”) When we walk through those dark valleys we end up with a greater appreciation for the light. We can also lead others out of similar valleys by encouraging them to follow the light of His Word. The LORD is the only one that can make broken things valuable and usable for His own glory. Whether mountain highs or valley lows He is our good shepherd.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      I agree with you Rachel what a wonderful counselor we have. One that is near to the broken hearted, and comforts. It’s so comforting to lean on the truth that we have a shepherd who will never leave us or forsake us. and stays with us in the darkest valleys. I know for me it brings peace to my heart to know I am not alone that He is always with me.

  • harry e innerst says:

    That valley in verse 4 is a familiar place to many of us. I know that I have been there before. We can get their by our own foolish discussions, or just dwell there in a state of depression because of believing lies that the enemy has spoken into our lives. It is important to understand that the Lord is their with us, and we do not need to fear. His loving direction will lead us out of that valley and into a place of bounteous provision. We need to hang on to this truth as we encounter others going through this valley. He lead me out and He can lead you out too. Even our enemies will be amazed at the provision of the Great Shephard, when they thought we were finished. Like Christian, in Pilgrims’ Progress, we do not stay wallowing in the slue of despond. We can always trust in His care and guidance.

    • David Bowman says:

      Thank you Harry for the great words of encouragement. I definitely have been in the valley of the shadow of death before. To be completely honest, I find myself there more often than I would like. This is a result of my own pride, selfishness, and ignorance. As Pastor Jeff alluded to, we are quick to judge the Scriptures as lacking because we have no interest in mining them for the unparalleled wisdom and knowledge it contains. May we be like the Bereans in our personal study of the Scriptures.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      Thank you for the encouragement, i know I have been in valley. The reminder that you say is so true that is something we must cling to is the truth and the fact that we are not alone God is right there with us and He will not leave us or forsake us. When I fill so lost when I’m going through the valley it is that reminder that helps me get through and not live in fear, or worry. When we tend to believe the lies of the enemy that is when depression, and anxiety can settle in, and also when we try to lean upon our own understanding we can get lost in those valleys.

  • Leslie Gonzalez says:

    Yes, this was such a great passage, again. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us. And we don’t have to fear. Valleys are scary and they can be long. But he is there comforting us. He uses his guiding tools also, his rod and his staff. I love that he leads us! We don’t have to strive to get ourselves anywhere if he knows how to get us there and is willing! And happy to lead! We can rest in Him.

    • Audra Downs says:

      Hi Leslie!

      What a good reminder that striving without God’s shepherding is futile. He leads beside the still waters, along the green pastures, through the darkest of valleys but all along he is providing us His yolk which is easy to bear and not that which we take upon ourselves. The Lord had to take me through a very difficult time to teach me that striving is fruitless. Our Shepherd is so Faithful. He know what we need and the measure it takes to teach and gentle us into his will.

  • Ericka Tapia says:

    In the valley of shadow of death is where I have stayed closest to the Shepard. I have felt like a child that is scared and stays close to her daddy for protection. Going through it is not easy or comfortable but is so completely rewarding because it strengthens my trust and my relationship with my Shepard. Again much like a child trusts her daddy as he takes her through the scary situation. I can now confidently assure to those around me that my Shepard comforts and protects, that He will take them through, the valley is not the final destination. I

  • David Bowman says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying Pastor Jeff’s trek through Psalm 23. I can remember as a little boy hearing my mother recite this passage and teach it to her boys. We would regurgitate it back to her in routine fashion, however, we were missing out on so many nuggets of wisdom therein. Each verse reveals another aspect of the LORD as a shepherd and the realities of being a part of His flock.

    Yes, we will enjoy green pastures and be led beside still waters, but we will also walk through the valley of the shadow of death. This flies directly in the face of the prosperity gospel and other “feel-good” gospel imitations. The raw authenticity of David’s emotions makes the words of this Psalm even more relatable to the reader. Which of us can say that we have never experienced dark times within our walk with the LORD? Yet, we had and currently have no reason to fear because He is with us. His rod of direction, protection, and correction comforts and keeps us from danger. And even when we foolishly fall into a ditch of our own digging, He uses that same hooked rod to pull us out of it. Thank You, LORD, for being MY shepherd.

    • Chander Letulle says:

      I’m so thankful and fortunate I guess that my walks through the valley of the shadow of death have been very short treks. I have spent the majority of my life in the prosperity that the Lord provides, enjoying the green pastures and the still waters. My life is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. (Gal 5:23) I have never worried about having enough… (Mat 6:25), and it brings me joy to share with others from the abundance that the Lord provides (Pro 3:10).

    • Caleb Franks says:

      Your comment also unveiled a nugget of wisdom I have been missing. This verse does protect against certain aberrant gospels. The very essence of this verse is that God is a Shepherd who lead us through all things, especially valleys! All things, poverty and sickness included, are hardships which God lovingly uses to lead us to deeper intimacy with Him. Press on brother!

  • Margaret Deherrera says:

    It is such comfort to know that no matter what we go through we are never alone, that God is with us and He comforts us, and gives us the peace we need to lay down and be still and not be anxious . For me right know it brings me so much comfort with everything I am going through to know that He supplies me with all my needs. This psalm really speaks to me and reminds me that everything I go through is for a season and for a purpose, and no matter what I need not to worry because God will get me through, and supply my every need. I just need to trust in Him and believe in the sufficiency of the scripture. I just need to remember the Lord is my Shepherd, and I may not understand and may worry but to put all my focus and trust in the Shepherd who lead me. When I run into others who are going through dark valleys I can share this psalm with them, and show them to the one they can put their trust in to get them through, as it has helped me to remember who guides me, and comforts me. and is always with me.

  • Caleb Franks says:

    This podcast reminded me of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, a passage which Pastor Jeff and Bob Hoekstra mention in the counseling classes. It says “Blessed be God. . . Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God.” When I think of David, I think of all the various valleys he experienced that are mentioned in the old testament. He had physical battles, moral issues, family entanglements, intense royal responsibilities, loss of children, and so much more. He knew what it meant to have God as the guiding shepherd of life. As counselors, we have to be loyal to proclaiming God as the staff-bearing Shepherd who is able to lead people through the valleys of life. We have to be faithful to this beautiful and powerful Psalm that speaks of the true Wonderful Counselor.

    • Tammy says:

      Yes Caleb, it ultimately is God who comforts us in all.  Your scripture reference is another example of us bringing others to or back to Christ.  Even though we may be the instruments He uses to help others, we are to keep the focus on bringing that person closer to their true “Comforter” while patiently enduring as the end of 2 Corinthians 1:6 says.

    • Chander Letulle says:

      Your post reminds me of something I heard along time ago – we can’t give away what we don’t possess.

      Before we can counsel someone else in the comfort that the Lord has for us, we need to receive His comfort.

      He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Co 1:4 NLT)

  • Tammy says:

    …”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” Psalm 23:4. At times, I also have asked God “why am I going through this tough time?” or “why don’t you take this “valley” away from me so I can get back to my responsibilities?” The more I get to know my “Wonderful Counselor” I see how all my situations or opportunities that I go through can be used for the help of others. I say “can” be because it is a choice, a choice to make yourself available. In being available and walking with someone through their “valley”, I can be an extension of how God was there for me and guide them to Him, the only one who can restore their soul.

    • Caleb Franks says:

      Tammy, I appreciate your focus here. I have noticed the desperation I have felt in the midst of certain trying times I have experienced. It truly gives me that perspective and comfort that helps me to minister to others who experience hardships. Depending upon the Wonderful Counselor in my own valleys has been great moments of growth that have enabled me to help those around me.

  • Chander Letulle says:

    …; your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (v.4) NLT

    The Lord protects, corrects, and comforts.

    This scripture reassures me that in His correction is protection and that in my discomfort is His guidance and direction that leads to His comfort.

    What a great scripture for counseling and a model for parenting and leadership.

  • Kayla Tracy says:

    I never really noticed the switch from He to You in this passage before. It is a very personal scripture, and I love how switching to You makes it relevant, and alive. I am thankful for this podcast, because of the reminder that my dark valley’s have equipped me to be empathetic with others who have experienced a dark valley similar to mine. Everyone’s valley’s are unique (in my personal opinion) but we can all relate to something at some point, and our diversity is super important. So to be reminded that my pain and darkness has a purpose, even if it’s for one person to relate to and see that I overcame it because of Christ, that is all worth it to me.

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