As we continue to look at fear vs. faith, our Bible Journaling verse for today is Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NASB) The first thing I notice is, that we walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death. In the time we are living, people are so fearful because of Covid-19. They are afraid of dying. The virus is serious, I agree. I have lost a friend because of this virus, I understand. But that doesn’t mean I’m living in fear of dying from it. I have faith that God has me in the palm of His hand!
I wondered if David wrote Psalm 23 during the time he was running from Saul and his life was in danger. Although we are not sure when David wrote this psalm, Dr. Jack Hyles states in his Internet piece, The Story Behind the Psalms, “There are those who feel that the Psalm was written when David was a lad tending the sheep, because it is a shepherd’s psalm. However, there is evidence that this is not true. For example, in verse 5, he was old enough to have enemies. In verse 4 he was facing the danger of death. In verse 3 he was experiencing rest, and in verse 5 he was experiencing prosperity. These things all point to an older person, or at least one who had reached maturity or adulthood. Probably the 23rd Psalm was written while David was at Mahanaim wondering how the battle was between his forces and those of his son, Absalom, during the civil war caused by Absalom’s rebellion. Of course, David was grief-stricken and heartbroken. It may have been the darkest hour of his life and this is where he penned the beautiful words, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’”
David experienced that feeling of going through “the valley of the shadow of death”, and yet he says he will not fear! Why? He gives us the answer, “for You are with me!” David knew from where his strength came. He knew that God had him in the palm of His hand, and nothing was going to happen to him that wasn’t already ordained by God, Himself! David CHOSE to live in faith, not in fear! Living in faith is a choice! Living in fear is also a choice. As Born-Again Believers, we don’t need to live in fear because God tells us that He will never leave or forsake us! (Hebrews 13:5) We can walk in peace because we walk in faith, not in fear. Is this easy? Not always, but when it gets difficult, we know we can turn to Jesus and ask for His help to walk unafraid. 2 Corinthians says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (ESV) As Christ-followers, we walk by faith because we trust in Jesus’ ability to save us, to bring us peace, and to walk with us through every circumstance.
The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) When we pray and ask God for help to walk in faith, despite everything going on around us, He will honor our request and help us. Notice the verse says, “the peace of God, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your minds.” His peace is far more than the world can give, far more than we can ever understand, and settles our minds and hearts!
Are you feeling fearful? Has your faith been shaken as you look at what is going on around you? Trust God! Rely on His ability to keep you, to hold you, to walk with you, and to give you a heart and mind filled with peace…the peace that passes all understanding. Then just like David, you can say, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, You are with me.”