I’m certain many consider this line from Psalm 23 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me,“ with confusion and apprehension. After all, don’t many of the TV preachers preach that following Jesus will make you rich, happy and healthy? This almost suggests (and I am being sarcastic when I say this), that our Good Shepherd will lead us through danger! Considering the History of Israel: 400 years in slavery, finished by being led through 10 plagues, walking through the Red Sea as if on dry land, a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, wandering for 40 years in the desert, facing impossible odds and impossible armies over and again, and I could go on but you get the point, God never has given His people an easy path. We live in a world that is broken, full of floods, fires, and famines, and many of experiencing this without God! Life is not easy in the least.
Yet, we fear no evil, for He is with us always. Our Shepherd leads us through the dark valley, He is with us in the storm, He stays with us when enemies and disasters arise, and He leads us when we’re ill. We shall fear nothing, for He is with us. He is what makes it all bearable. And the sheep without a shepherd, or those who don’t trust the good shepherd are prone to panic, prone to fear, and will trample anyone or anything if frightened enough. But those who know the Shepherd are comforted by His presence. We trust His leading, and no matter what we face, we know that He will get us through it all. I fear nothing, for He is near. I trust His leading, and know He will guide me all the way home. Psalm 139 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!