Psalm 23: To it, or Through it?

November 1, 2016

“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.”  (Psalm 23:4)

The great Shepherd psalm of David is the most familiar chapter in the Bible.  It is loved by Jews, Catholics and all shades and grades of Protestants.  Psalm 23 is the greatest description ever written of what the relationship between God and humankind can be.

After declaring that his God makes him lie down in green pastures and leads him beside still waters, David also declares there to be times when he finds himself in a valley that is so dark it is like the shadow of death.  However, he is comforted by the staff of his Shepherd.  He is referencing the confidence he has in the ability of his Shepherd to lead him through that valley, not just to that valley.

He is also comforted by the rod of his Shepherd.  A shepherd uses a rod as a defensive weapon to keep predators away from the sheep.  David is saying here that he has great confidence in the ability of his Shepherd to protect him from anything he might encounter in that valley.

The bottom line: David knows his Shepherd God can not only lead him to a valley, but through that valley.

Are you in a valley right now?  If you are, realize your Shepherd God wants to lead you through your valley.  Trust God’s perfect ability to lead and protect you all the way through your valley.

Faith nearly always involves choices.  The choice is yours. So, which is it going to be?

Is it going to be “To it, or through it?”

Dick Woodward, 16 March 2013


When you don’t know what to do….

June 13, 2014

“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.”  (2 Chronicles 20:12)

No matter how gifted we may be, sooner or later we will hit a wall of crisis where we simply do not know what to do.  The Scripture from Chronicles is taken from an historical context when the people of God were overwhelmingly outnumbered and they simply did not know what to do.

James later wrote that when we do not know what to do we should ask God for the wisdom we confess we do not have (James 1:5).  He promises us that God will not hold back but dump a truckload of wisdom on us.

Years ago I received a telephone call from my youngest daughter when she was a first year student at the University of Virginia.  With many tears she informed me that she had fallen down a flight of stairs and was sure she had broken her back.  At the hospital they had discovered mononucleosis and seriously infected tonsils that needed to be removed.  She concluded her “organ recital” litany: “Finals begin tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do, Daddy!”

Frankly, I was touched that my very intelligent young daughter believed that if she could just share her litany of woes and tap into the vast resources of my wisdom I could tell her what to do when she did not know what to do.

According to James that is the way we make our heavenly Father feel when we come to Him overwhelmed with problems and tell Him we just don’t know what to do.  That’s why a good way to begin some days is:

“Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on YOU!”

Dick Woodward, 04 April 2013

Editors Note: Blessings to all the fathers out there as we in America celebrate Father’s Day this weekend. As that ‘young daughter’ who continued tapping into her Papa’s wisdom until the day he died, these words comforted my heart. Our Heavenly Father is always here when we don’t know what to do.