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Psalm 23:4


4 Yea, though I walk [yalak] through the valley [gay'] of the shadow of death, [tsalmaveth] I will fear [yare'] no evil: [ra`] for thou art with me; thy rod [shebet] and thy staff [mish`enah] they comfort [nacham] me. KJV-Interlinear


4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. NASB


We live in this physical world. It is a dark and dismal place, a valley of hopelessness, of death, of insecurity, of limitations, of burdens that never end.

In spite of the fact that we live in the valley or dark jungle of this world vs. Gods residence on the mountain top, Zion, shows the contrast between the two residences available to us, we are now physically required to spend our lives on this planet, in bodies of corruption, in the midst of opinions opposed to those of God.

Valley of death, 'tsalmaveth', from 'tsalal' and 'maveth', mean respectively the shade, or the hovering over of death, calamity, ruin, destruction.

Evil is 'ra', meaning adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, harm, mischief, misery, sorrow or in other words all things that could result from the actions of some event or thought. The event being that which is external to oneself, and the thought being that which comes from within oneself.

The rod and staff represent the tools of the shepherd. The rod for discipline or direction, and the staff for rescue and guidance.

A sheep in the flock of God is under His constant control and protection. Within the flock (in fellowship) there is protection. Outside of the flock there is discipline and/or rescue as required.

We live in this world. This world is a place of deterioration, of instability, of uncertainty, of distraction. Without a good road map, or something solid on which to rely, a person cannot sort out the good from the bad. But Bible doctrine helps us out in giving us a basis for discernment.

We are constantly exposed to trouble of one sort or another. Problems generally come to us in four forms.

Trouble comes from our own thoughts, or lack of them,
from other people in this world, whether near of far makes no difference,
from the systems and bureaucracies of the world, whether work or government of social,
and from natural disaster whether physical, mental or mother nature.

We are the target of a conspiracy as it were. The anti-God opinions of this world being the conspirators, and we as believers being in the path of the target, which is God.

But we must survive and survive we do with the help of God, through His word in our souls. Despite the terrible onslaught we are potentially up against every moment of our lives, we are protected. Most of this evil threat we will never know about. Just as Satan hovered over the Christ child at His birth, which we see in our Revelation study, so too, Satan and the evil of this world hovers over all believers, especially positive believers.

Christ as a child was protected as a helpless infant. He was protected by legions of angels. So too we are protected in our helplessness during our lives in this world. So much so that we will never see most of those threats. Yet they are there and they are very real. We are in fact living within that valley of a constantly hovering death. A death that is constantly hanging over our heads. More than death however, it is the threat of evil, or the disasters that evil can rain down upon us.

Evil is the policy of Satan. Evil is that which is in opposition of God, that which has a total disregard of God in this universe. For the convenience of a definition, evil is the policy, and wickedness is the production of evil.

Wickedness comes in two forms - sin and human good. Both of which reject God in their function. Distinguish human good from divine good as divine good is that good which comes from the source of God or His word within us, while human good comes from the energy of the flesh, ie. outside of fellowship, outside of the influences or applications of Gods word.

So from within our fellowship status, that bubble of protection, we have stability, protection, blessing, and so forth which are all provided by God. Our physical environment is irrelevant. Nothing is greater than God. God is with us on a personal level when we are in fellowship. We are in effect residing inside His palace, His fortress, that invisible bubble which surrounds us despite our life in this world.

When God is not with us, that is when we are out of fellowship and that is when we are exposed to the threats of the world. His discipline, the rod, and His deliverance or rescue, the staff, are our assets too, as He applies the necessary pressure against us to get our attention and to redirect our attentions back to His will for our lives.

That will being to remain in, or to get back in fellowship, to resume our Bible study which keeps His word and His wisdom in front of our minds, and to apply His doctrine to our daily lives so that we will live good lives rather than the alternative.

There is comfort in His blessing, just as there is comfort in His discipline. Both are within the framework of Gods wisdom. The alternative is the framework of the world and in that there is no true comfort, only deception and failure.

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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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