Episode 038 – Psalm 23 Pt 5: Valley of Deep Darkness

Key Passage(s): Psalm 23:4

We all experience difficult times in our lives that cause fear, frustration, sadness and pain. In Psalm 23, these are the “valleys of deep darkness.” Once in, the only the way out is through. David understood this, and yet he boldly states, “Even though I walk through the valley of deep darkness (shadow of death), I will fear no evil for you are with me.” What exactly was David talking about? Once we grasp what David is saying, we’ll know how to navigate our valleys of deep darkness with hope and resilience and be able to say the same thing!

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • Where are you experiencing a dark valley in your life? If you’re not, who in your circle is? How can you reach out to them to let you know you’re with them and that you care for them?
  • If you’re in a dark valley, how are you doing? Are you denying your reality in any way? Are you stuck in the valley? Are you moving through it?
  • Was the conversation on fear helpful to you? Why or why not? Where might fear be paralyzing your movement forward?
  • How does the knowledge that God is intimately aware of you and with you as you walk through hard places change your perspective? Do you believe God is walking with you through your difficulties? Why or why not?
  • Do you generally go through your difficulties alone or do you allow others to know and walk with you through them?
  • In what ways have you seen God anew going through the deep valleys of your life?
  • What is God asking you to do to walk out the truths of this teaching?

For Further Study

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  1. Cynthia Palacios October 23, 2018 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Wow!!! I am battling bed bugs in my home. I invited a gal friend over for a movie in my home and I have the little boring insects. I’ve been walking in the valley by myself. I’ve been embarrassed and alone during this time.

    Now that I am not alone my prayer is that I will be able to get through this dark valley with my shepherd.

    I get the bugs sprayed on Wednesday. But basically I need to move stuff into my kitchen and bathroom.

    Please be in Prayer with me as I cross this valley.

    Thank you

    Cyndi Palacios
    Trinity Church, Lansing MI

  2. William Black October 23, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

    As always Bread-vgreat insight-miss you!
    Thus having to go through the treacherous part of the valley-life on earth-kinda destroys the rapture concept.
    From another view-shadow of death-is desaloator-satan-on earth.
    I will fear not-no Jesus nor HS 3rd person?
    the evil–one-satan
    For Thou-one-art with me–huh. ????
    Thy rod
    Thy staff–huh?–
    they comfort me—wait where’s the 3rd person?
    Rod-staff-2 handels that open the———TORAH!????
    David had to write 2 copies of it as king.
    Thus he knew that if he obeyed he thus activated the covenant and YEHOVAH or His Host will show up or intervein or “nudge” him to wait, or turn here or turn there.
    As a passing thought about the vertical and horozontal relationship It would seem that somehow we need to find that YEHOVAH is actually in our horizontal plane not just -up there and seemingly –farr far away, and why would He be on my horizontal plane with my sinful flesh?
    We tend to forget-“Lo, I Am-Eyah asha Eyah-I,YEHOVAH,
    I Am with you always everywhere”!
    What can separate us from the love of YEHOVAH?

    • Brad Gray October 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Absolutely, Bill (with respect to God not being “way up there”). And it’s exactly what I discuss in next week’s episode. So great transition 🙂

  3. Jody Ferlaak October 23, 2018 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Brad- This message is powerful and timely. Chip and I watched it together and we are in the midst of the dark valley and unknowns right now in multiple ways. He is leaving Mac Legends and walking away without a clue what God wants us to do next. We are trying not to fear all the unknowns and logistics for a family our size, as well as financial concerns and to top it off we learned we were shockingly expecting a baby in the middle of all of this…and now I am waiting a miscarriage as the baby failed to grow and had no detectable heartbeat at my ultrasound a few days ago. So we are in this valley that seems to lead to no where and has lots of fears and questions, but seemingly no point or purpose in the grand scheme of things! Your teaching came at just the right moment and reminds us that God is going to lead us through and whether our eyes see it or not, His Hand can be trusted in this dark valley. We have walked hard roads before and in some ways that makes this valley more tiresome and frustrating. Almost like He is saying, “you didn’t learn enough the first time…or how can you doubt me again?” But it IS hard because we have never experienced ministry or point or purpose born out of our ‘suffering and enduring hardships’ so it’s as if we are going through all this “for nothing” and that is where our faith seems weak. Even after years of following and trusting in Him. I am praying that God will take the roots of bitterness I am feeling inside and somehow show us there is reason to hold on, keep trudging through and ultimately- even if it is only in glory one day- that this Way is the best way to go. If faith was based on feeling I would be ready to throw in the towel, but His Word tells us we don’t walk by feeling or sight. So literally we’re giving Him all we have (which feels like a crumb offering to be honest!) and trusting that in His big hands He will do something far more than we can dream or imagine. I recall you and Shallon not knowing how, what, when or why not long ago too…but His faithfulness is all we need and we know He won’t let our feet slip. We are hoping He gets glory out of our struggles and hardships now…and always. I am grateful He is with us in hard places and on mountaintops too. What a Good Shepherd indeed.

    • Brad Gray October 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Wow, Jody. I can’t even begin to express how sorry I am that you and Chip and your amazing family are going through such an excruciatingly difficult time. Thank you for sharing everything you did. We are all with you and pray deeply that God will manifest Himself to you in calming and compassionate ways like you’ve not experienced before. And please let Shallon and I know if there’s anything we can do to journey with you through this.

  4. Chelsea Kelter October 23, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Toda Raba Brad. I loved the emphasis on He is with us. Goel Gadol. Ra’ah Gadol.

  5. Wesley Campbell October 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    I hear what you’re saying BUT 2 Timothy 1:7 says, ” God has not given us the spirit of fear but…”

    • Brad Gray October 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Wesley, the word translated as “fear” in the translation you’re quoting is the Greek word “deilias.” It’s a word that’s better translated as “timidity” – such as how the New American Standard Bible translates it (“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”). “Timidity” carries the connotation of shying away or holding back. Hence, this is the why the very next verse begins, “Therefore, do not be ashamed …” So this is directly in line with what I taught in this teaching. Fear, when it leads to paralysis, causes us to hold back and be timid, rather than pushing through the fear so as not to be held back. I hope that helps.

  6. Marie Renta October 24, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    As I’m answering the discussion questions by myself I’m crying and reaching out to God during my deep darkness. I ask He hold me up as I really need Him. The teaching encouraged me to let out my emotions. Thank you Brad.

    • Brad Gray October 25, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

      It’s one of the healthiest things you can do right now, Maria. May He hold you up, and try to not carry or traverse this burden alone. Perhaps a dear friend or family member needs permission to join you.

  7. Chad October 25, 2018 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Great teaching, Brad. Thank you for all of the efforts you put into the production of such good material.

    • Brad Gray October 25, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Really appreciate that, Chad. Thank you.

  8. Doug Hartman November 4, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for contextualizing the skills that savvy 11th-century-B.C. shepherds used to lead sheep through deep, dark valleys in the Negev desert.

    It helped me discover something about God, and myself, that I didn’t know before.

  9. Bill Black November 13, 2018 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Sadly it’s all part of being “conformed to the image of Christ” since He also suffered or was being pruned by His Father for greater and better things.
    If one could hear a tree when it is being pruned for providing more fruit I bet it would yell–that hurts and when does the pain stop?
    Sadly soul winner do not let newbies know this when offering Jesus. Thus the agony of why is this happening to me.
    Jesus said-they, sinners, sons of satan, hated me they gonna hate, interfere to get you to “curse YEHOVAH and die” you.

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