"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)
Every word in this verse has a wealth of meaning. Walk -- as if the believer did not enliven his pace when he came to die, but still calmly walked with God. To walk indicates a steady advance of a soul that knows the road, knows its end, resolves to follow the path, feels quite safe in it, and is perfectly calm and composed. The dying saint is not in a flurry. He does not run as though alarmed, nor stand still as though he would go no further. He is not confounded nor ashamed, but keeps to his pace. Note that it is not walking IN the valley, but THROUGH the valley. We go through the valley of the shadow of death and emerge into the light of immortality. Saints do not die, but sleep to wake in glory. Death is not the house, but the porch; not the goal, but the passage to it. Mountains have storms breaking on them, but valleys are places of quiet. So often the last days of the Christian are the most peaceful of his life. His valleys are rich in golden sheaves, and many saints reap more joy and knowledge when they come to die than ever was known while they lived.
It is not the valley of death, but the valley of the shadow of death, for death in its substance has been removed; only its shadow remains. One said that when there is a shadow there must be light near, and so there is. Death stands by the side of the road we are traveling, but the light of Heaven shines on us, throwing a shadow across our path. Then let us rejoice that there is light beyond. Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot stop a man even for a moment. The shadow of a dog cannot bite; the shadow of a sword cannot kill; the shadow of death cannot destroy us. Then let us not be afraid, saying, "I will fear no evil." The Psalmist does not say that there will be no evil. He had gotten beyond even that high assurance, knowing that Jesus had put all evil away. But he says, "I will FEAR no evil," as if even his fears, those shadows of evil, were gone forever. The worst evils of life are those which do not exist except in our imaginations.
Adapted From Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening.