Selah Reflect God’s Comfort

A Psalm of David.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

Reflecting on this single verse makes it clear why Psalm 23 has become a standard for inclusion in funeral services. When reading this at funerals, I always point out that a valley is something with an entrance and an exit; it is something we pass through. The “valley of the shadow of death” is not the main focal point of this verse; the presence and comfort that God provides enable us to walk through the valley (something we all will do) without fear. Funerals for the faithful who have leaned on this comfort and presence to navigate without fear have the capacity to be celebrations.

It’s important to point out that the rod and/or staff of a shepherd are tools for protection of the sheep, not punishment. Occasionally, they are used to fight off predators, but mostly they are used to guide the sheep away from danger.


Questions for Reflection:

  1. Did you memorize Psalm 23 as a child or youth? Do you remember reciting it to yourself?
  2. Does reading this verse remind you of a valley in your life?
  3. Can you remember ever feeling the staff of God giving you a little tap or poke to lead you away from something dangerous?
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