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Day 17 – Oh, Sweet Valley! – Part 2

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

“Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me.” Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

Once on a visit to Mt. Charleston, just north of the Las Vegas valley, I was “hiking” with a group of teenagers.  We lost our way, we were out of water, and the hour was growing late.  We knew we needed to get down the mountain as quick as possible, so we decided to head straight down the side, toward the road.  There was no path to follow, and everywhere in our way was rocks, bushes, trees, and boulders.  We scooted and tripped our way down the side, we got snagged on the jagged rocks, and it was a bit scary in places where it was steep.  We had to cling to each other at times in order to keep from falling.  We had to help each other climb over obstacles that weren’t safe. We were scared, tired, irritated, and at times desperate.  We were scraped and bruised by the time we made it to the road, but we were exuberant to see that road at the bottom of that hill!  Oh, sweet valley!

Being at the top of a mountain gives some a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration, and the views are spectacular – completely breathtaking!  What a rush!  But it is also hard to breathe, the air is thin, the wind picks up, and you are unprotected.  What I really love about the valley is the sense of comfort and peace that I get once I have made the journey back down.   I am obviously NOT an avid hiker!  But even experienced hikers don’t live on the top of the mountain.  We are all on our own journeys, and sometimes we have to go up and down the mountain.  I believe Jesus wants us to know that regardless where our journey takes us, whether it is the top of the mountain, in the valley, on the hillside, or in the cave – He is with us, and He is leading us.  We are to enjoy His presence during every stage of our journey and not despise where He leads us, be it mountain high or sweet valley low.

In Psalm 23, when the psalmist mentions walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he immediately says that he fears no evil, because the Creator of all things is right there with him, feeding him, restoring him, and talking to him.  The psalmist seems barely aware that there is an enemy lurking, because the King’s banquet has been set up right there!

“You are making a table of food ready for me in front of those who hate me. You have poured oil on my head. I have everything I need.” Psalm 23:5 (NLT)

The focus isn’t on the enemy in the shadows at all! Our focus is to be on our Loving Warrior King who is intimately involved with us at that moment! We don’t focus on the fight, we focus on the feast at the banqueting table.  It is feasting with our King, under His love-banner in the valley, that defeats the enemy!  Oh, sweet valley!

What is your perspective today?  Are you missing the banquet that is set right in front of you because you have chosen to look into the shadows of the mountain to see the enemy who is skulking about?  Are you living in fear, doubt, depression, anxiety, and worry because of an enemy that can’t even get to you?  The enemy wouldn’t dare come near the King who fills your cup!

Father, give me Heaven’s perspective.  I want to live under the banner of Your love, and feast at Your table of blessing, where You have already vanquished the enemy.  I thank you Father that I dwell with you in the safety of your loving-kindness forever and ever!  Thank you that I get to enjoy Your abundant goodness as you bless, refresh, and restore my soul.  Thank you Jesus for the “Oh-so-sweet” valley of your presence!

— Kristie Shuman

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