During the time of Hurricane Dorian along the Southeast Coast, I read on line a sermon, “I will fear no evil” by Pastor H.B. Charles of Shiloh Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. It was then that I was inspired and saw one of my favorite scriptures, the 23rd Psalm, in a new light. This Psalm is, indeed, one for all times and all occasions.

David testifies: “the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

In verse 4, David is no longer in green pastures or by still waters. He is now in the valley of the shadow of death. Two things may cause fear: a guilty conscience or a lack of faith.

But, we do not have to live in worry, doubt, or fear. David does not declare and decree that no evil will happen to him. Neither does he claim authority or victory over evil. David acknowledges evil may happen to him, and evil may happen to any of us for we live in a fallen world among sinful people. Our society is corrupt. Living amidst spiritual enemies, evil things happen. Neither fame, nor money, nor power will prevent bad things from happening. For that matter, spiritual discipline, holy living, nor Christian service will prevent bad things from taking place in our lives.

Ultimately, there is nothing we can do to prevent evil.

However, we can choose how to respond to it. We can say, I will fear no evil. This statement speaks in absolute terms. It does not matter the nature, source, intent, agent, intensity, magnitude, or severity of evil — I will not be afraid. This is not self-confidence. It is confidence in God.

Verse 4 says, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” There is no reason to fear the evil lurking in the valley when we know that we are not in it by ourselves. The Lord is present. The Lord never shows up empty-handed. He has his rod in one hand and His staff in the other. He covers us with His anointing.

Grey Barnhouse drove his young children from his wife’s funeral. Naturally, the children were overcome with grief. Suddenly, a huge truck passed them on the road. As the truck passed, its shadow swept over the car. Then, something occurred to him.

“Children”, Barnhouse said, “would you rather be run over by a truck or by its shadow?”

“The shadow,” they answered. “That can’t hurt us at all.”

Barnhouse said, “did you know that two thousand years ago the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus in order that only its shadow might run over us?”

Jesus is my Shepherd who sacrificed his life to redeem me of the evils of dangers, sin, and death. Psalm 23 is the open-secret to a happy life, a happy death, and a happy eternity. Join me in quoting this scripture daily. Goodness and mercy will surely follow us.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram

is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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