Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
-Hebrew scholars point out the Hebrew word for death does not appear in this verse, though the Arabic root does. The Hebrew text has the idea of walking through the deepest, darkest difficulties of life. For some, it may be death, for others it may be the loss of health, family members, friends, employment, home, or some other prized possession, relationship or position. It may be some heart-wrenchingly, difficult decision or any kind of extreme challenge. When the shepherd leads the sheep toward the pasture for the morning feeding, they may have to go through narrow ravines or on dangerously narrow paths with steep and deep drop-offs just beside them, with natural enemies such as lions, bears, wild dogs, etc. nearby hoping to snatch them for a meal.
I will fear no evil;
- Bill Hull, in his book Choosing the Life, says that the most frequent command in the Bible is “Fear not”. He states that it is included 366 times, once for every day of the year, including leap year. Perhaps that reveals our greatest temptation. David says that in his most difficult circumstances he will not fear any evil. Evil surely includes anything that would keep me from fulfilling my highest purpose of pleasing my Great Shepherd (God) referred to earlier in verse 1.
for You are with me;
-David then explains why he will not fear any evil. His Great Shepherd, his Righteous God, is always with him. He is omnipresent, not just as an observer but a participant in whatever is going on. He is an active perfect Shepherd, protecting, guiding and providing for us, His sheep or children.
-The rod of God is used by the Shepherd to defend the sheep by beating off their enemies to God’s wise distance. There are many Biblical examples like Job.
and Your staff,
-The staff is the shepherd’s tool used to “tap” the straying sheep into the safety of the line following the shepherd or to draw the fallen sheep up from its dangerous “fallen into” place out of reach of the shepherd’s hands.
they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Again, our Great Shepherd provides the very comfort that we need when we are tempted to be overcome with fear.