“I will fear no evil…”
Fear is a common reality felt from the poorest of men to the richest. Fear, in itself, is not a sin. If fear were not a part of our everyday life words such as courage, bravery, overcoming and fearless, among others, would have no value. It is what we DO in the face of fear that determines whether a thing is commendable and worthy of honour or cowardly and worthy of shame. The Hebrew Word used here יָרֵא occurs hundreds of times in the Old Testament; here as a verb but also (though less) as a noun and is used interchangeably to describe the Fear of the Lord or fear of a particular circumstance or situation. We read throughout the Sacred Scriptures of the Fear of the Lord being the principle part of Wisdom. We also read of those who, because of the fear of the Lord, obeyed Him, served Him and loved Him through the actions it produced in their lives.
In this Psalm we read of an individual following and loving their Shepherd and, in that following, they find themselves walking through the valley of the Shadow of Death. It is in the midst of this experience that we hear the declaration that they will not be deterred in following Him. The fear of this place of evil and darkness will not prevail or have any effect upon their decision to walk through this valley! These valleys are not crossed over because of the absence of fear; they are crossed over in spite of the fear! The love of God displaces the terror and the grip of FEAR enabling us to pass over, to walk through, and to overcome the thing that would prevent us from obeying HIM!
God’s people should never feel ashamed when encountering fear; what matters is what we DO in the face of it. Countless martyrs throughout the ages have faced the fear of torture, persecution and even death yet they found the strength and the courage to be faithful to walk through the realities of these things. They are not moved by the fear because HE IS WITH THEM. There is a peace and a power that holds their souls in adversity; a presence that imparts GRACE to stand, to walk and to hold the course in spite of all that rises up to meet them in the path of following Jesus.
“through whom also we have access BY FAITH into this grace
in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character; and character, hope”
ROMANS 5:2 – 4
It is HIS GRACE that enables us to stand and this grace is only accessed through the portal of FAITH. Without faith we have no access to this Grace; Grace not only to stand but to rejoice and glory in tribulation! Such things are too high for the ability of man within himself. These things are reserved for those who are growing in the seeking, pursuit and abiding in HIM!
God has an answer to the fears that would cause us to falter in our way.
HIS answer is HIMSELF.
“I will fear no evil;
For You are with me”
“Fear. His modus operandi is to manipulate you with the mysterious, to taunt you with the unknown. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, fear of tomorrow—his arsenal is vast. His goal? To create cowardly, joyless souls. He doesn’t want you to make the journey to the mountain. He figures if he can rattle you enough, you will take your eyes off the peaks and settle for a dull existence in the flatlands.”
Max L. Lucado (1955– )