NO FEAR #5 in Series on Psalm 23

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me;” (Psalm 23:4a).

Have you noticed the bumper and window sticker on cars and trucks, “No Fear?” Recently I asked a guy who had one what it meant. He didn’t know what it meant or how it got started. He just liked it. I suspect that it may be someone’s idea of being “macho” and “self-sufficient.” Some of those same guys in a foxhole, a hurricane or facing heart surgery might have second thoughts. If it is based on self-confidence, it is arrogant to say, “I’m not afraid of anything.”

When David said, “I will fear no evil”, he was not expressing self-confidence. He went on to say, “for Thou art with me” It was utter confidence in his Lord’s care and protection like a good shepherd’s care for his sheep.

There is actually a Valley of the Shadow of Death. The road between Jerusalem and Jericho goes through part of it. It is a deep dark valley with caves along the way. Thieves  and wild animals were known to be in those caves and it was very dangerous. Some Bible commentators think Jesus was speaking of that valley when He said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). This could have been  
the valley David was speaking of. The picture above was taken of such a valley near Jericho. Shepherds took their sheep through such valleys on their way to grassy plains.

 There are two kinds of fear in the Bible; one is a reverential fear of God. Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). It is a good kind of fear that includes trust and obedience. It is taking God’s side against evil and believing in God’s ultimate victory.

The other kind of fear is a fear of death or evil. David was referring to this kind of fear when he said, “I will fear no evil.” John was referring to this kind of fear when he said, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment” (I John 4:18).

Sheep without a shepherd are terrified, and well they should be. They have virtually no self-defense if attacked by a wolf or a lion. They can’t run fast, and even if they escape the wild animals, most of them cannot see well and will fall in a deep ravine or over a cliff.

My friend, if you have not received Jesus as your shepherd, you cannot say, “I will fear no evil…” You ought to be afraid. As an unforgiven sinner, you are headed for hell. You are helpless against the devil. Peter warns, “…the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). Jesus is your only hope. He came to “…release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

Are you afraid to die? If you are not a Christian, you should be. Hell is hot and judgment certain. But God loves you. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to save you. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus gave His life on the cross for your sins. He came “…that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8b).

When you realize you are a sinner and believe in Jesus Christ enough to receive Him as your Savior, He comes into your life, forgives your sin and becomes your shepherd. Not only does He save you from your sin; He promises, “…I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

So, if you put your trust in Jesus, you can say, “NO FEAR!” He will guide you and protect you in this world and be your defense attorney at the judgment. Amen!

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