If you’re familiar with Psalms 23 and are looking for an encouraging devotional book, “Traveling Light” is the book for you. Taking Psalm 23 almost line by line, Max Lucado unpacks the promises found in Psalms 23. I’ve heard few sermons on this famous psalm, but the depth to which Lucado goes to reveal some of the tiniest lines of hope was inspiring; it gave me a new appreciation for the verse.
The sections that impacted me the most were on verse 4. It’s the “valley of the shadow of death” verse and it’s one that brings a dark tint to what would be a very pastoral, cheery tone. One of the things he points out is that while God doesn’t say we won’t go through a valley of death in our lives, he does say we will go “through” it, not “live” or “stay” in it. It sucks when you’re in one of those valleys of life, whether it’s death of a loved one, loss of a job, or even losing a friend due to circumstance or geography. It affirms the feeling of being overcome by darkness that overtake a valley even while the rest of the surrounding geography is sunlit. It also affirms that this is only one part of a journey, the journey itself. It gives some context to grieving. Too often I feel we are quick to make people forget how they feel instead of just being there with him or her and letting them feel the pain of their loss. It’s only once they’ve reached the end of the valley do they need to be reminded that there’s sunlight at the end.
Oddly enough, there were a lot of facts about sheep I never knew. Obviously this psalm incorporates a lot of shepherding language, but not being a shepherd I never realized how much a lot of the verse has a deeper meaning for people familiar to sheep. For example, did you know that unless the sheep are calm, like the whole flock, they won’t sleep? Or that there’s a snake that bite the sheep’s noses while they graze but there’s an oil that repels them? Sheep are high maintenance and my hat’s off to shepherds.
I wouldn’t recommend reading this cover to cover. It becomes too repetitive and the main points don’t have time to sink in. I recommend reading this chapter-a-day style.