Fear No Evil
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
Have you ever been to a haunted house? I mean, not a REAL haunted house, but one of those weird attractions at an amusement park? Well, I remember the one and ONLY time I went inside one of those things. Growing up, I was raised in a very traditional, old school, holiness Christian household. My dad is a pastor. My mom is a pastor. My older and younger brothers are pastors...I mean...if your last name is Delmadge, you are probably a pastor or you will be one. Growing up in this type of household meant that horror movies, witchcraft, or sorcery of any kind would not be permitted in our lives. So... the Smurfs, He-man, Dungeons and Dragons, or anything that I would’ve loved as an 8-year-old 80’s kid was completely forbidden.
One day, my dad took a couple of the youth from the church to the Six Flags amusement park in New Jersey. At the time, my older brother, Al, was trying to get the attention of a particular girl in the youth group (I don’t remember her name, so please don’t ask), and she wanted to go into the haunted house. Now, I know that we shouldn’t go, but I was curious. My brother was responsible for me, so he asked if I wanted to go, and I said, “Sure”. So off we went. As I was getting closer to the ride, I was kind of excited, but that all changed once I saw the decapitated heads mounted on the walls with the blood splatter next to them. Then came the screams!!! I immediately shut my eyes and wrapped my arms around my brother’s waist. My face was firmly planted on his hip, and he literally had to drag me through the rest of the house. My brother spent more time talking to me than to the girl, and you know what? I did not care, because I was afraid. Yet, for some strange reason, holding on to my older brother comforted me. His presence calmed me in the midst of an atmosphere that was designed to make me afraid.
What do you do when your shepherd leads you into an atmosphere or season that can make you fearful? In verse3 of Psalm 23, David explains that his Shepherd, “...guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” However, in verse 4, he continues by writing, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” Have you ever considered that your paths of righteousness can be leading you right into the valley of the shadow of death? That phrase “shadow of death” in Hebrew is tsalmaveth, and it means a shade or deep darkness of death. In other words, the presence of death or dying is completely surrounding David while he is following his Shepherd. His season or atmosphere was charged with evidence or facts that were designed to create fear in him. This was not a fear of reverence, but instead it was the type of fear that would make him think twice about following the Shepherd. It was a fear that would tempt him to turn around and find his own way or chart his own path. The valley of the shadow of death was designed to make sheep run away from their shepherd out of fear!
But David responded to the atmosphere and season that was designed to make him afraid by saying, “I fear no evil, for You are with me.” There is a confidence that comes over you when your arms are wrapped around your Shepherd’s waist. There is a comfort that exists when you are with the Lord. You can’t change the facts and figures that can produce an atmosphere of fear, but you can be sure and confident to know that your Shepherd will never leave you nor forsake you. He never promised that you wouldn’t go through the fire or the storm, but He did promise, “When you go through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” – Isaiah 43:2,3
So be encouraged today. Don’t let this season overcome you with fear, but hold on to your Shepherd. He will bring you through.
Fear No Evil
Now that’s Good Word!