4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” What do you fear? I think that most of us have certain fears in our lives. David says that no matter what comes his way, even when he is near death, he will not fear. Can I say the same thing?
I have talked a lot about going through this cancer therapy but it is a difficult thing. I remember the day that the doctor told me I had multiple myeloma. He explained that it was a very difficult diagnosis and a very long treatment and recovery. We chose the most difficult treatment, which is a tandem stem cell transplant done 2 months apart. Was there some fear in our minds? I have to admit that I really did not feel any fear. I trust my God implicitly and I trusted that if He allowed this in my life He would bring me through it with a testimony they would win others to the Lord. That would be done for His glory and His glory alone.
My children had fear. My grandchildren had fear. I think my wife handled it very well but there was some fear in her mind that I might not make it through. When my shoulder went out during the first transplant there was a fear that I would not be able to work again because my right arm is very valuable to my work. Writing, driving, working on the computer and shaking hands – all of these things require my right arm to work. Will I be on disability for the rest of my life? This is still a fear.
But once again I do not fear. I know God has a plan and His plans are always good. He will not lead me into anything that He is not prepared to bring me out of. He will take me to the other side and I will be victorious in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.
If you have fear today then I encourage you to turn your eyes upon Jesus and away from whatever it is that is giving you fear. Because when your eyes are on Him then they are off of the circumstances bringing you this fear, and when your eyes are off your fear your mind can be off of it. Jesus is the answer to take away your fear.
“His rod and his staff, they comfort me”. I could spend a whole blog talking about the rod and the staff, maybe even 2. We have all seen a shepherd’s staff I imagine, a long stick with a hook on the end. It is used for so many different things so I’m only going to take the time to talk about a few of them today.
The rod is used for discipline sometimes. I find it interesting that David says the rod will comfort you. Do you feel comforted when the Lord disciplines you? Over and over again in the Bible we are told not to despise the discipline of the Lord (Proverbs 3:11, Hebrews 12 7, Job 5:17-18 and 1st Corinthians 11:32 are examples). When we are disciplined by the Lord He brings circumstances into our lives that we don’t understand and He wants us to go through them. But so often we want to pray our way out of them. And our friends want to pray our way out of them. We ask God to deliver us then we defeat His purpose in our life. We need to allow the discipline of the Lord to work in our lives and take comfort in it.
The rod is also used to keep the sheep away from danger. If a shepherd sees a sheep going towards a cliff or going to something that is not good for them He’ll use the rod to back them away. He also uses the rod to defend against wild beasts and animals that might come in to hurt His flock. We can all see the great comfort this can bring to us, knowing He is always watching out for us. Are you assured that God always ahs your best interest at heart?
The staff is where the crook is at the end. This is used Dto pull an animal back from going off a cliff or to pick up a baby sheep that might be having trouble keeping up. it makes me think of Jesus loving arms wrapping around me when I need to be comforted. The staff is also used to gather the sheep around the shepherd as they are moving. What great comfort there is in knowing that the Lord will gather me close if I’m going astray. He is always looking out for me and caring for me more than I can ever know.Know that when He is using the staff or the rod it is for our comfort and always for our good
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
“He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” I do not have to fear the enemy – ever. Jesus Christ defeated our enemy at the cross. David did not have that luxury but he knew that God always had his back. He knew that God would always come to his rescue no matter how hard the enemy came at him. Do I have that assurance when I get into difficult circumstances?
I never have to fear. I never have to worry about whether I’m going to come out ahead. I have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords on my side. How can I be defeated? I always have to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord! When I give it to Him, He will see me through no matter how big the obstacle and no matter how difficult the enemy might be fighting me. He has already defeated that enemy. I just need to walk in that victory.
“My cup runneth over.” What is in your cup? What runs over out of your life into the life of other people? Is it grumbling and complaining and moaning about your situation? Is it gossip? Is it mean feelings? Or is your cup running over with the fruit of the spirit? Galatians 5:22-23 list them as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and intemperance. Are these the things that are running over and your life?
As a Christian your fruit should be touching other people every single day. Jesus said that they’ll know you are Christians by your loveto one another (John 13:35). Is that what other people see in you? Do they see the joy, the peace, the love and all those other things that sets you apart. I pray that others see those things in me on a regular basis. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus Christ day in and day out
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
An interesting twist happens at the beginning of verse 6. He says “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.: As I read this over and over again I have to ask myself if I left behind goodness and mercy to those people that I have come across. Have I been good to those that have crossed my path? And have I been merciful to them? Or have I them, have I been disrespectful, or just been mean? Oh, how I long to have goodness and mercy follow me! If there is one legacy I could leave it would be that people would say he was merciful and he was good.
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” If He is truly Our Shepherd then we will be with Him forever, rejoicing in heaven around His throne.
So I close this study on this scripture that we all know and love by asking the same question that I will end up with. Is He really my shepherd? Is He really yours?