Psa 23:4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Christian or not, we all go through valley experiences in this life. These experiences can often define who we are or become as individuals. They represent those low times or times of suffering or sorrow in our life. It is an experience opposite of what we call the mountain top. Being a Christian does not exempt us from going through these times of sorrow or suffering.
There are various valleys mentioned in Scripture and typify different situations in life. One such valley is found in our text – the valley of the shadow of death. It is a time of deep sorrow and loss. It represents separation from the living in this world and for many it represents darkness and the unknown. Paul tells us that our comfort in this valley is the truth about the resurrection of Christ and those who die in Christ will also experience a resurrection. To those who survive the ones going through this valley he says, “Comfort one another with these words.” Our comfort is in the truth that all who die in the Lord will meet with those who survive when the survivors also die (in the Lord and they meet again never to depart). Unfortunately, the unsaved do not have this hope and their fate is judgment after death since they have not had their sins placed upon Christ while yet alive.
A second valley is the Valley of Achor found in Joshua 7:26. This valley represents sin and defeat. It was in this valley that Achan and his family was stoned to death because he stole from the Lord. When they conquered Jericho all gold, silver and precious things belonged to God since it was the first fruits of Canaan. But Achan decided to keep a wedge of gold, some silver and a garment that appealed to him. No one knew but Achan and God and God did not allow it to slide. Israel was defeated in the next battle and after prayer God told Joshua that there was sin in the camp. Joshua had all tribes and heads pass before the Lord and God made known Achan’s sin. In order to appease the broken law, Achan and his family were slain in the Valley of Achor.
A third valley is the Valley of Baca – or weeping. It is a time of loss – loss of health, job, income, family, and etc. It could even represent the loss of our youth in the aging process. This valley is often deep and difficult to escape.
A fourth valley is the Valley of Elah. This is the valley where David met Goliath in battle. It represents the giants in our life; the testing of our faith in God, doing battle with them. It is often associated with ridicule and cursing, just as Goliath ridiculed David and cursed the God of Israel.
A fifth valley is the Valley of dryness. This is represented by Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones that symbolized the spiritual deadness of Israel. Most if not all Christians go through a time of spiritual dryness where we seem to be at a standstill in our experience and we have difficulty with understanding God’s word.
If we find our self in any of these valleys we desire to rise out and up to the mountain top or at the least out of the deepness of the valley. If we find our self in the Valley of Achor, confession, repentance and restitution will lead us out of it. If we are in the Valley of Elah then we need to have faith and confidence in God and remind our hearts of the past victories God has already given us. If we are in the Valley of Dryness, then we need the gospel rain and reviving breath of God. Sanctifying God in our hearts and pursuing Him in prayer. If our loved one has passed through the Valley of Death, then we need to assure our hearts of God’s great salvation and rest in His promises of life after death.