Tracks vs paths, what's the difference? Tracks indicate that something or someone has has already walked the way that you are going lately. They aren't very far ahead of you. They've already been where you are headed. God, Jehovah Jireh, the one who provides, sees and provides every provision that we will need as He goes before us. When we get to where He's already been, we lack nothing!
In this Psalm, the tracks lead us straight into the Valley of the Shadow of death. We need not fear, God walks WITH us! He comforts us, protects us, and feeds us there. We aren't in the Valley of Death, we're in the valley of the shadow of death. The thing about shadows is that they often cast a much bigger image than the actual object that is causing them, distorting their actual size and shape.
A few years ago, I was mowing and a shadow the size of a 747 jet swooped over my head. It surprised me so much that I ducked! I thought a plane must be flying too low or in trouble. When I looked up, I saw a Blue Heron soaring along the woods edge. The Heron's shadow was much larger than the actual bird. I thought a jet was crashing. I wonder if he laughed when he saw me duck in fear at his shadow?
Satan loves it when we look at the shadows and fear. In that valley, things loom large and dark. We must remember that behind every shadow is the light. Goodness, mercy, and the faithfulness of God will follow us all the days of our lives if we belong to Him, even if we are in a valley. David also said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom should I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life: Whom should I dread? (Ps. 118:27) In Psalm 139:12, He said "Even darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and Light are alike to you." Why? Because God is above it all! He sees what we cannot see. He knows what we will only find out as we walk though.
Are you in a valley? What should you do? Dig a well!
Psalm 84 says, "Blessed is the person whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the roads to Zion! Passing through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion."
One version I read says, "Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where other find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring." I love this!
Imagine finding the Brook of Blessing in the Valley of Tears, outpoured from the very hand of God! All we need to do is dig deep, hold tight, and keep walking. At the end of every dark valley, there is light. At the end of every shadow, there is the warmth of the sun. In and through and out of everything, there is God! Follow His tracks!