Are you always watching for fear to spring on you, when there is actually nothing currently taking place to be afraid of? How often we even find ourselves afraid of fear itself for no good reason! If you are a child of God, you should not be looking for fear, nor allowing it to come into your heart. Tell yourself what David declared to himself: “I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4). He determined that he was not going to give in to fear, but would trust and rely on God instead. The result was that he no longer had to have fear or apprehension about anything.
But what if you are only afraid of situations that are a real reason for alarm? Most of us would likely end up with only a tenth of what we are usually fearful of most of the time! If we, God’s people, are trusting Him, then our minds are free from distress and troubles—correct? Not at all. We also have to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”—but we will “fear no evil” even when we are there. We are to remain determined to keep walking with God, even if death itself overshadows us. Then, even in the very face of death, we are able to say, “I will fear no evil.” We can say this with confidence because no one in God’s care has anything to fear. There is no reason for alarm that can lay hold of us that He does not know about—no matter how dark the valley may be that we are going through. Our Shepherd will point out the correct path, and He will accompany us for the whole length of the journey. Therefore, what possible reason could we have to be afraid, no matter how dismal a scene we might encounter, or even if we are going through the very valley of death?
But even when we know that God is leading us along, just think about how often our pitiful, weak hearts want to hang back in fear anyway! This is not something that applies only to those who shrink back by nature, but also to the bold ones among us. The children of God “…feared as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34) even though the cloud was full of light, not dark and foreboding. Think how many evils that seem the worst to us actually only live in our imagination!
We may also imagine shadowy figures waiting to terrorize us in the darkness. Who knows where someone or something might be hiding, waiting for a chance to jump out and pounce on us without warning. There be may no threat waiting in the darkness at all, yet our hearts lose faith and picture a multitude of things that could be there. But even these baseless fears can be enough to cause us great distress, and sometimes even more so—because they are baseless!
When David wrote “I will fear no evil,” he did not mean that he had no fear, but that it would not be necessary for him to confront the evil if his Shepherd was leading him. He was able to conquer his fear by concentrating and setting his eyes on the staff of his Shepherd, and he could therefore say “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” If God’s flock knows that their Shepherd is leading the way, they can enter any new territory without being overcome by fear and dread. There may be menacing enemies constantly waiting and watching for a chance to overcome the sheep. But why should they make our mind disturbed by focusing on this possibility, since we know that our Shepherd will not allow any harm to come to us? In fact, He may force them to do something to benefit us instead!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….” We will be led along the paths of peace and righteousness by our Shepherd, even though we may think we will have to go through the dark and dreary valley of death! But we will find that we can go through it all without being afraid, because He will be there the whole time.
Who is intimidated by a mere shadow? If one should fall across our path, there is no reason to be afraid of it. And the shadow of death also cannot destroy us, so why should we be afraid of it? “I will fear no evil,” David said. He did not say there wouldn’t be any evil, but that He knew that God is going to put evil away forever. David no longer greatly feared his last enemy, but considered him a conquered foe to be destroyed. And, Satan, our enemy, tries to put fear in us that we will never be able to make it or become free. Yet the continual presence of our Shepherd makes it possible for us to also confidently say, “I will fear no evil.”
What do you fear right now? Let Jesus be your Shepherd, and let Him lead and guide you along your path. There is no need to fear when He is by your side!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”Psalm 23:4