In Israel, there’s an ancient trail up to Jerusalem which climbs above a deep precipice that the Jews call “The Valley of the Shadow of Death.” They say David had this scene in mind when he wrote Psalm 23. When walking this narrow trail, weary pilgrims going to Jerusalem could easily slip and fall into the deep canyon below, or robbers might assault them from the huge boulders on the mountainside. It was a dreaded, fearful, and dangerous part of the upward climb to the Holy City.
During a time when humanity is still in relative isolation and the sins of what some thought to be the past sends a shameful shock across our collective conscience, I am reminded of the perilous journey before us. Yet, it is the perfect design of humanity made in the image of our Father that we are made to rest in lush meadows and drink from gentle, pure waters that refresh and never run dry. It’s possible to miss the blessing and become overwhelmed with the peril that we face, but there is peace and rest in the presence of our heavenly Father.
For the Jews on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, there were many dangers: racism, oppression, and hatred were a daily battle. But singing the songs of Zion and claiming the promises of God’s Word, they would lean into the climb looking forward to what lay ahead.
I want to encourage us to not quit singing and to not shed the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit as we lean into the climb. It is love that compels us, love that defines us, love that saves us, and love that will see us as we press forward to that Holy Promise of Peace.
PRAYER: Father God, please, in my zeal and pain let me not forget to drink from your waters. Lord, check my anger that it may remain righteous in your sight. Remind me to lay in the pasture of your perfect presence where I find rest and restoration. Define me Lord by your love and equip me for the journey that lay ahead to press into the Holy Spirit for my comfort. Amen