Welcome to Day 6. for one of our short powerful devotions from the 31 Bible Verses About Practicing The Presence Of God. This short devotional is based on Psalm 23:4 which is from one of the most beautiful Psalms in the Bible!
Read Psalm 23:4.
King David was getting old when he wrote Psalm 23. He wrote from his heart. He had come a long way from being just a shepherd boy. He had come through many trials and tribulations. Some of those trials were caused due to his own misadventure but most of them were due to the dangerous times he lived in and the call on his life. David was called by God to become king of Israel and to lead the people with a passion for Him.
The Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart” twice. The first time was by Samuel who anointed him as backslidden King Saul’s successor, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14, NKJV). The second time was by the Apostle Paul who recounted Israel’s history, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Ac. 13:22).
When David was a shepherd boy, he got great training in protecting the sheep from wild animals. He would have had a rod and staff to fend of those wild animals and so his choice of using the word picture of a rod and staff adds rich imagery to convey the depth of his feelings of love and devotion he had to God.
It would have been a lonely time in the field taking care of the sheep but that made it the perfect circumstance to lean into God and practice His presence. The result was that his strength came from God to face Goliath and to defeat him, run from Saul, and then lead Israel as king. We could learn much from the story of David. I personally would love to be known as "a woman after God's own heart".
Join me below for a short powerful devotion about what it means to be able to say "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." And join me in prayer at the end of the post.
The whole chapter of Psalm 23 talks about God as our shepherd and therefore we are His sheep. With God as our Shepherd, the text lays out the ways that God looks out for us, provides for us, guides us, and in the dark season of life he is right there with us. The chapter ends with the promise of Heaven, stating we will one day live with God in his house forever.
What does it mean to walk through the valley of the shadow of death?
We all have times when we go through “the valley of the shadow of death ” and it’s a dark and painful place to be. I have walked through it a few times and I can tell you that even though the situations were excruciatingly painful, I knew God's strength and peace as I walked through that horribly dark valley.
"Psalm 23:4 depicts the image of the shepherd leading the sheep back home at evening. As they go down through a narrow gorge, the long shadows lie across the trail. In Hebrew, this is a valley of deep shadows. The sheep, because they are so timid and defenseless, are frightened by their experience. But they trust the shepherd, and therefore they are comforted. They will fear no evil because the shepherd is with them." Ray Stedman.
When you go through the valley, you may feel all alone and maybe you may even feel abandoned by God but the truth is that you are not alone. Here are a few of the promises that God gives us for when we find ourselves in a dark valley season of life:
Deuteronomy 31: 6: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:8: "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Genesis 28:15: "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
God is with you through all the storms that come your way. He is your anchor.
Rod And Staff
What is the meaning of rod and staff in Psalm 23?
Here is a picture of a rod and staff. Back in the times when David was a shepherd boy, rods were sometimes used as weapons of defense. They were also sometimes used just as a walking stick, to support them on their long walks or going up hills, something to lean on. The Hebrew word for a rod is shebet. It means both a rod and a staff but it can also mean a "club". The staff was a slender pole with a little crook on the end that was used to aid the sheep. The crook could be hooked around the leg of a sheep to pull it from harm. Or it could be used as an instrument to direct, and occasionally to discipline, the sheep with taps on the side of the body. Keep this word picture in your mind as you think of God as your shepherd. The crook is a great picture of God protecting, guiding, and supporting us. Remember God is with you every step of the way through your dark valley.
Remember also that the staff can be used to lean on, to provide rest. With God as your staff, He provides rest for you when you lean on Him. As you draw close to Him, He draws close to you. And with His rod, God will guide you and keep you on the path of life that He has prepared for you.
Have you gone through the "valley of the shadow of death"?
Did you know God's presence through the storm?
To help you apply this verse to your life and to listen for what God is saying to you I have created a free printable with 31 scriptures on Practicing The Presence Of God, a guided prayer journal to help you go deeper with each verse and to help you unpack what God is saying to you through each verse.
Today's devotional is based on Psalm 23:4 which is from our Practicing The Presence Of God: 31 Presence Of God Scriptures Plan. You will find a free printable PDF of 31 scriptures about God's presence in the Resource Library. It has a bible reading plan, guided prayer, and gratitude journal. Download this free printable or grab a notebook.
What is God saying to you through this verse?
What burdens do you need to surrender to God and trust Him with?
Write out your prayer request.
What are you grateful for today? Count your blessings!
Write out the scripture verse, it helps you to memorize the scripture and store up God's truth in your heart. Then in the last section of the prayer journal, there is space to record what God is speaking to you through our bible verse today, Psalm 23:4.
We are called to pray without ceasing. That means we can talk with God at any time and in any place. This is a great way to practice the presence of God. Praying scripture is a powerful way to pray so join me in praying Psalm 23:4.
Thank you Father that You are my shepherd. Your rod and Your staff comfort me. Thank You for leading me through the dark valley, and keeping me from harm as I go. Help me not to resit Your prodding and guidance along the path that You have chosen for me. Thank you for Your supernatural peace that is my companion through the valley and mountain top times of my life. Amen.
You will find Practicing The Presence Of God: 31 Presence Of God Scriptures HERE. It will have the list of 31 Bible verses that we are using for 31 days that our short powerful daily devotionals are based on.
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