FEAR NOT THE VALLEY, WORSHIP HIM!
As we look for a good, in fact, a wonderful new year, a year that holds for us, the very blessings of the Lord, yet deep inside, most of us know too, that though we hope to find little in the way of tribulation throughout this new year, tribulation will come, as it has been said of the Lord, Himself (John 16:33). Yet, for some of you, perhaps you've entered into this new year, already in the midst of such troublesome times , hoping soon to see brighter days. For you who might currently be in a troublesome valley, you might ask yourself, "Can I really worship the Lord? With all that's happening in my life, how can I?" Upon considering our days, whether it be this day, or the days to come, and whatever hardships might await us, a certain verse comes to mind, that offers to us, such comfort and hope, no matter what lies ahead, that verse being Psalm 23:4. Let's read it together:
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 KJV)
Here indeed is a verse of which we can certainly offer up our praises unto the Lord, as we behold the very promises given us in this verse from Psalm 23:4. Let's take a deeper look at what the Lord is saying to us through the Psalmist:
Though I walk: the word walk in the Strong's Concordance means: to walk; proceed; come; follow.
What I read here, regarding the meaning of "though I walk" is: though I will walk ... as I will walk ... as I proceed to walk. "Though" says there will be valleys.
Through the valley of the shadow of death. So often, we who belong to the Lord, think "shadow of death" strictly speaks of "when we die", or "when we depart from this life", yet, there are many deaths we endure, as we follow the Lord. In fact, we die daily, as we face death to self (selfishness), death to being self centered, etc. The valley of death can also speak of: darkness; distress; even extreme danger. Let's look even a bit further:
I will fear no evil: I will not dread, be fearful, nor afraid of evil. In the Strong's Concordance, the word "evil" has a rather lengthy list. Let's view some of the meanings of the word "evil":
wickedness; wicked; mischief; hurt; bad; trouble; affliction; adversity; harm; unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery); displeasing; worse than, worst (comparison); sad, unhappy; evil (hurtful); bad, unkind (vicious in disposition); evil, distress, misery, calamity; evil, injury, wrong.
The Psalmist here tells us he will not be afraid, and that none of the above meanings will cause him to fear, or to be afraid. Because we know that fear is an opposition to faith, in Psalm 23:4, the Psalmist proclaims he will "not" fear what anguish life might bring, but rather, he will (through his own choosing) live a life of faith, trusting in God's faithfulness ... in God's promises.
For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, meaning: no matter what I am going through the Lord is with me. His sceptre (mark of authority) and His staff (support of every kind) rests upon me, comforting, consoling, pouring forth compassion, and even bringing ease during such threatening times, as He remains with me through even the darkest of times in my life.
Please allow me to paraphrase all of what I just said, adding to my words, the very heartfelt praises burning within my heart, praises of appreciation in all that He says, all that He is, and all that He does. Truly a most faithful God, we do serve!
Father, how I praise You, yes how I thank You that when such times come that I must walk, yes even proceed upon a path seemingly dark and full of danger. I need not dread, no, I need not ever be afraid, nor fearful of such a path. Yes Lord, though the path might prove to be an unpleasant path, even one of wickedness against me, one of trouble, one of affliction, and yes, even one of pain, I have nothing to fear, for (glory unto You), Your mercies are new "every morning", and great is Your faithfulness to me (Lam 3:23 KJV). So GREATLY do I thank You that You will never leave me, nor forsake me. I know that whatsoever I might face, I shall never face it alone. What a comfort this is to me! Yes, Your authority of protection is upon my life, and in every way, in accordance to your truth, You support me. In times of sorrow, in times of pain, You comfort me, Your hand of compassion, it touches me, easing even the most difficult of circumstances that might befall me. Lord, today I pray You hear my heart, as my heart offers You the very thanksgiving and praise You are so deserving of. From the deepest place within my heart, do I worship You Lord, for You are great, and greatly to be praised!
Whether this year offers us nothing but pleasant and joyful memories, or perhaps some rather hard and difficult times of testing, the Lord is most worthy of our worship, and of our praise. Why not join me now, as I offer Him the thanksgiving due His name?
Lord, as Your children, we come to You, offering You our hearts full of worship and praise. We bow our hearts before You, in adoration. Yes Lord, we adore You. No where else can it be found, what we find in You. Love, peace, joy, healing, salvation, and the very host of promises You extend to us through Your Holy Word, promises which are Yea and Amen (2 Cor 1:20 KJV). We offer honor and glory unto You, our most faithful Lord and King ... Amen!
Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible and immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever (to the ages of ages). Amen (so be it). 1 Tim 1:17 (Amplified Bible).
As you entrust Your life into His keeping throughout this new year, may His blessings be great within your life! God bless you!