“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)
Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
To say we live in a world of fear is a great understatement. But nothing is new under the sun. Fears heighten and fears dissipate as threats (real or not) begin and conclude time and time again.
So, what gave the Psalmist here the ability then not to fear? What brought in peace where anxiety had breathed its deadly poison?
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me” says David the Psalmist. What was it? The LORD. My Shepherd. YOU are with me. YOUR rod and YOUR staff. In the temptation to fear the real evil, the real threat of death surrounding David, his hope was found not within himself, and not by ultimately escaping every valley of the shadow of death – rather it was found in relationship with the One who stands above and beyond even death: The LORD over death itself.
And JESUS, the LORD over death itself, said: “I am the RESURRECTION and THE LIFE. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26).
Friends, in Jesus we find the only Good Shepherd who brings His people to green pastures, who leads us beside still waters (‘waters of rest’), who restores our souls.
Because the sting of death in sin has been defeated by Jesus on the cross for all who put their trust in Him. So, then we do not need to fear even death itself…
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
Friends, we need what our world needs more than ever, to place our trust in Him, who took the punishment for all our sin.
In Him alone who can replace our fears with peace – in the certainty of His eternal love.