While driving I heard a story like this the other day. This is not a quotation, but my summary of what the man’s message meant to me.
Why is the twenty third Psalm so comforting? To start with, because it is the twenty third Psalm. Our familiarity with the words of that song are what give us the ability to immediately think, “Good scripture for comfort in times of trouble”. But it is not alone. The twenty third psalm is comforting because of the twenty second and the twenty fourth psalms.
On the one hand you have the Messianic message of Psalm 22, which starts with words our Savior will speak while suffering on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Further down we are reminded of the blasphemous boasts of the crowd, “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him”.
On the other we find our glorified One going through the gates of Heaven. “Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle”. The song tells us to ascend to the hill of the LORD requires us to do so with clean hands and a pure heart. It says that those who approach God in that way will receive blessing and righteousness from “the God of his salvation”.
Psalm 22 and 24 call our attention to two hills, Calvary and Zion. With one refrain we are reminded of the pain our Savior undertook for our salvation. The other says our saving God is ready to bless those who approach Him having washed away the stains of sin. A hill on either side, leaves room for a valley, Psalm 23.
Is it any wonder that a loving God put the mountain of the cross behind us, the mountain of the crown in front of us, and provides comfort for the valley we must travel to get from one to the other? Even though we travel through the plain where doubt is possible, fear nothing. Fear nothing, because your God is with you. Take his training (rod) and correction (staff) as a comfort. He is preparing you to reign.
A last point is this; the valley where my God walks with me is the one between the cross and the crown. The journey starts at the cross. Begin your walk there and walk with God to the crown.