6 Minute Read


Exodus 5:22–7:25
Matthew 18:21–19:12
Psalm 23:1-6
Proverbs 5:22-23


Psalm 23:4 (CSB) “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.”


The twenty-third psalm is easily the most well known psalm and is probably one of the most heart-warming.

When we take a closer look at the psalm, we realize that King David wrote it. That is helpful information to know because David was keenly aware of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd when he wrote Psalm 23.

Just listen to a time when David talked to King Saul and told him about how seriously he took his job as a shepherd…

1 Samuel 17:34-35 “David answered Saul: ‘Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it.'”

David knew how deeply he cared for his sheep. He knew that he had repeatedly put himself in harm’s way to protect his sheep. With him as their shepherd, his sheep were well-cared for and well-protected. They were in need of nothing.

But, as David penned Psalm 23, he switched roles. He wasn’t the shepherd caring for his sheep. Instead, he was the sheep being cared for by the Great Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1 (CSB) “The LORD is my shepherd; …”

There are a lot of wonderful truths in this Psalm but I want to focus on verse 4.

Psalm 23:4 (CSB) “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.”

Continuing with the idea that he is a sheep that belongs to the Lord, he said a few things that can provide us with so much comfort.

First, he acknowledged that he wouldn’t fear any danger when going through the darkest of valleys.

It would seem that David was saying: “Even when life gets hard and I don’t know how it’s going to work out, I don’t get overwhelmed with fear. I don’t worry about bad things happening to me. Why? Because I’m not going through it alone. You, Lord, are with me.”

David’s relationship with his God was so real and so powerful that he didn’t get anxious or afraid when life got hard. He knew that his God was watching over him and nothing, absolutely nothing, could happen to him unless it passed through the hands of his God. And he was so convinced of his God’s infinite power that he knew that nothing and nobody was so powerful that God couldn’t overrule and defeat them. So, his faith in his God allowed him to “fear no danger.”

But, second, he also mentioned something else that comforted him…

Psalm 23:4 (CSB) “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.”

David drew comfort from the fact that his Shepherd had two very useful pieces of wood in His hands – a rod and a staff.

The rod was essentially a club and the staff was a tall, slender stick with a hook at the end.

The rod was used to beat an animal that tried to harm the sheep. The staff was used to gently pull a wayward sheep back toward the shepherd.

So, David said God had the ability to beat off whatever would bring harm. Further, he said that God had the ability to gently pull him, David, back into relationship when he strayed from his God.

What did David think of the truths of God’s ability to protect him and pull him back in when he strayed? “They comfort me.”

Friend, these things are true of you, too, if you are a Jesus-follower.

When life gets hard, really hard(!), all you need to do is look over your shoulder and acknowledge that Jesus is there with you. You aren’t alone. You are never alone! Jesus is walking through it with you.

When evil comes your way, the only things that can happen to you are what God allows through His hands. Yes, bad things may happen but they were allowed by your Great Shepherd and it is for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28). Everything else is going to get clubbed by an Almighty God who is using His rod.

When you stray from the Lord into sin or spiritual lethargy, God will gently use His staff to pull you back in toward Himself. He loves you so much and He knows you need Him. So, He will do whatever He has to do in order to get you back closer to Him.

Friend, these are wonderful truths. Why not read through Psalm 23 again but do it slowly and reflectively. Personalize the truths. And find such great comfort in knowing that you are God’s sheep. He loves you and is watching over you and providing for you.