Even 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 NIV)
There is nothing quite so debilitating or paralysing as fear.
It is something that we are all prone to at different times in our life and it can stop us in our tracks, preventing us from living the life that God wants us to live.
How can we combat this destructive force?
In this one powerful and comforting verse King David provides us with some practical insight to help us in our battle against fear.
Fear, he says, often rises up in the valleys of our life.
These valleys represents the low time in our lives. Those times when we feel like we are struggling at the bottom instead of standing in victory at the top.
These are times of intense struggle and pain. David here highlights one such valley: ‘the valley of the shadow of death’.
If you have ever faced death or watched a loved one go through it, then you know what David is talking about.
Then David indicates that evil is often behind our attacks of fear; here he says,
‘I will fear no evil’. He saw evil behind the fear waging against him.
Death is not natural; it wasn’t meant to be this way. It is an intrusion, an evil that has entered our fallen world because of sin.
So what is the antidote?
For David, and us, it is an awareness of God’s presence:
‘for you are with me’.
God has not promised us exemption from trials and difficulties, but he has promised to be with us through them. It is imperative that we take God at His word when He said,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
One of the great fears is that of being alone. But for the believer, the truth is, we are never alone. The God who made the universe is with us and in addition He is for us!
David concludes this verse by saying
‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me’. In being with us and for us, our Lord is our shepherd directing our ways. Sometimes he corrects and disciplines us, but he has unfailing love, mercy and grace as he leads and guides us, which should bring us great comfort in our fears.
So fear not, move forward, the Lord is with you and as a result goodness and love will follow you and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (v.6)
Dear Lord, thank you for being my shepherd, for being with me during the valleys of life, and promising me an eternity in your house. With you I will not fear for my soul is restored and my cup overflows in your presence.
Have a good week not fearing.