4 Even though I walkPsalm 23: 4
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
What does it mean to fear no evil? Some would say evil cannot touch us. But when we take time to consider this it makes no sense. If evil cannot touch us then how was it the apostle Paul faced so many beatings, shipwrecks and prison terms. Job was certainly deeply affected by evil when his family and all he had were taken from him. Jesus suffered the evil of the cross.
Coronavirus has certainly been no respecter of religious conviction or belief. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist… all have been affected alike. Another reason why it is important to heed the advice of social separation and washing hands.
The palmist is not advocating evil will not touch us, he is stating he has no fear of evil, which is a very different thing. Next Sunday at our online church service at 12 noon we will be thinking about the man born blind in John 9. When Jesus was asked why he was born blind, if it was his sin or his parents, he answered by saying neither. The man’s blindness was to demonstrate God’s glory – which was shown in how he was healed.
The psalmist fears no evil because he knows he can depend upon a demonstration of God’s glory. What is that glory. Surely God’s glory is in the promised return of Jesus Christ. Revelation 22:20 tells us, ‘He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ God’s glory is in Jesus promise to the thief on the cross, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 2:42)
Psalm 23 is all about the shepherd, the Lord, who leads his sheep and the protection he affords to them. The psalmist fears no evil because of his utter confidence in the one who leads him through the dark valley and so no matter what evil befalls him he knows that final destination of still waters and green pastures where he can lie down in peace will be his.
This is his comfort and protection.
Can we say that we fear no evil? We might well be worried about catching Covid-19, who wouldn’t, but do we fear it or is our confidence in the one who leads us through, who will return and when he does it is to take us to be with him in paradise.
Prayer Father, we thank you for the complete confidence we can have in you. A confidence that goes beyond what any illness, circumstance or happenstance can force upon us. Thank you for the promised inheritance of 1 Peter 1:4 and so Lord we ask that today you would enable our faith in