There are many places in the bible where we get to see glimpses into the life of David where God kept him from harm and cared for him like a good father does for his child. One of my favorite glimpses is found in Psalm 23. When the psalm was penned, David was recalling seasons of his life when he had unrest and faced challenges. The picture David draws for us is of a God who cares for, leads, and provides while all along loving the one who is in His care. One of the scriptures in the passage that always gets my attention is verse 4,

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Ps.23:4

In the scripture, David talks about walking through a valley. When we go back and read about David’s life and the times he would constantly run from King Saul, and later from his own son – Absalom, we realize that what he shared with his readers in Psalm 23 wasn’t an analogy for him, it was reflection of experiences he had lived through. Here is what catches my attention about versus 4, David shares two significant things about his valley moments with his readers; what God allowed and what he (David) experienced. Let’s take a look in this blog at what God allowed. In a future blog we can walk with David as he shares with us what he experienced. So what did God allow? God allowed David to walk through a valley. Not just once; David walked through valleys in different seasons of his life. What is hard to process for some is that God allowed this to happen to David. Why is that a big deal? Let me answer that by painting a picture for you of what a valley looks like. A valley is a low area between mountains or hills with at least one opening. It may, or may not, have a shallow body of water. If it does have water, it more than likely is too dirty and contaminated for human consumption. Because of where they are found, valleys are often used as shelter by wild animals; which implies that they could be dangerous, uninhabited areas. Since valleys have openings in clefts of mountains and rocks, they let in all kinds of weather and foreign element; rain, cold, heat, etc. In summary, valleys are not the best places to get stuck in. When the bible uses a valley as an analogy, it often is referring to times of difficulty and stress.

You are probably thinking, ok Reubar I understand now what a valley looks like both naturally and spiritually, but how sure are you that God allowed David to walk through it? Great question. Let’s go back to versus 3 of Psalm 23, David penned,

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.  Ps.23:3

The “He” whom David is referring to in this verse is God. David tells his readers that he walked along with God and got strength from God, God led him on the ‘right’ paths, and as God did all this He (God) honored His own name. By the way, the word, “right”, in versus 3 is a key word to note. It is translated in Hebrew to mean correct, or straight or beneficial. It is key because it helps us to understand that whatever path God had David on, as He led him, was the path that was correct for David at that time of his life. It was also the straight (or proper) path that God knew David needed to be on at that time of his life as He led him. And it was the path that God knew was beneficial for David at that time of his life, as God led him. Do you know that when God is leading you He is fully aware of the path you need to be on? Because God knows which path you should be on in every season of your life, that path is not only the correct path for you, it is the path that you will receive the benefits you need in your life. Wow! Having this understanding helps us to stop resisting God’s paths for our lives. But let’s get back to the question you had; how do we know God allowed David to walk through the valley? As David gives us a glimpse, in Psalm chapter 23 verse 3, of him walking with God the next thing we are told in verse 4 is that David is in a valley. Not just any valley, a dark valley. There is no mention in verse 3 or 4 that God abandoned David, only that they were walking together. It can be hard to imagine from a human mindset a good God allowing the child He loves to walk into a valley; whether literally or spiritually, yet Psalm 23 shows us that He does.

Here is what we need to remember, when God allows us to walk into a valley it does not mean He does not love us. The same loving God who led David beside still (or calm) waters [Ps.23:2], is the same God who allowed David to experience valley moments. When God allows us to walk into a valley it does not mean He does not love us. It is important to remember that when we are facing valley-like situations in our lives. Even when God permits us to face them, He stills loves us. The Psalmist recorded in chapter 139 of the book an important reminder for you and I, that no matter where we are in life, God knows and He can reach us. That is encouraging to know.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.  Ps.139:7, 11-12

Do not fear the valleys. Your God who loves you knows when you enter the valley and His love will be there with you, the entire time. God did not just lead David, He kept him. He kept in beside the still water, He kept him as He led David on paths of righteousness, and He even kept him when David entered a dark valley. God has never changed. He will keep you when you are by the still waters of life. He will keep you when you are walking on paths that are correct, straight, and beneficial – as He leads you. And God, our Keeper will keep you when you come face to face with dark valleys like David did. God is not just our Good Father and Kinsman, He’s our Keeper; yes even in our dark valleys He shines His bright light and He keeps us.

5 thoughts on “KEPT IN THE VALLEY – THE SET-UP”

  1. Amen to that! In this season when all looks bleak, it is reassuring to rest in this. Thankyou for sharing Reubar!

  2. What a great reminder and encouragement that God is always right there with us even during the darkest valley moments.

    1. Hi Benny, thanks for visiting my blog. You know, the thing I like (I’m sure it’s the only thing I like) about dark valley moments is knowing that God is RIGHT THERE with me.

  3. This was written so beautifully. We serve a God that will NEVER leave us or forsake us. This is comforting to me. The word, “Never”, just pause on that for a moment. Never will God leave us, never will God forsake us. I’ve had many people walk out of my life, but to have God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ say that is amazing!!!!!
    David knew that no matter what he did, God was never going to walk away from him. That is reassurance.

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