How is your New Year starting? If you’re just joining us, we are beginning our New Year on the right foot by meditating on Psalm 23. Our minds and hearts are bombarded daily with anxiety-producing news and even just worrisome internal dialog. Personally, it is helpful for me to recite Psalm 23 morning and night, and anytime I need to refocus my thoughts and emotions on the Lord's care. This week we are pondering verse 4.
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 (NASB)
In verse 4, the psalmist readily admits that life is not always a bed of roses. Sometimes just getting through the day or the evening is a workout. Yes, bad things do happen to good people at times. Until the Lord returns to establish His kingdom, there will be days filled with joy and sorrow, as well as peace and anxiety. Many of us have apprehension regarding dying as well as living. Until the Lord comes again, we will all pass from this life to the next.
In light of all this, the psalmist says, “Even though…I fear no evil for you are with me.” Along with the author, we can find the strength to look trials and even death right in the face and say, "I fear no evil because the Lord is with me!” Think about it. If God is for you who can be against you (Rom. 8:31). No evil shall befall you (Ps. 91:10) because the Lord never leaves you or forsakes you (Heb. 13:5). God keeps us close and in His care, no matter what may come.
The author continues to intimately relate that not only is God “with me,” but He also “comforts me” by His tangible presence: a nudge here, a tap there, a protective whack now, a gentle voice then. The Lord is oh so present guiding, touching, protecting, never far from us, ever watchful, close at hand. Close your eyes if you like and imagine the Lord at your side, with His arm over your shoulder saying, "I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age (Matt. 28:20).