You, Fear, Evil and the Shepherd.

Every family has one, don’t they, some are known as “the black sheep of the family.” Jokingly, my second youngest son, is “ours.” He has a favorite English soccer team- “Liverpool”- He is the only one in the family that supports them. We have tried to “convert” him but NO! He cannot see the light. When he was thirteen years old at the time,he brought a box of tissues into my bedroom after his team had beat mine accompanied by a big smile! {I’m still his dad- I can still ground him for life, can’t I }. We have some good banter and fun over the teams but there is an amazing scene that happens within minutes of Liverpool’s home games when the stadium is filled. At the “Kop” end behind one goal- The home fans raise their scarves and hold them out wide and begin to sing, by their thousands, the noise increasing into a great crescendo … “And you’ll never walk alone… walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone….” It would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Several years later Evan and I would stand on the front row of the Kop and hear and watch and he would participate in the singing. An unbelievable act of “worship” to their team by the thousands who pack into the famed “Kop” end of the  ground. It is a tradition that has passed on from generation to generation and that song associated with that team! Their adoration, affection indeed the very focus of their life is on a team and they have reason to celebrate and sing of waking on and how they will always walk together.

 How much more reason have we- the followers of Christ to sing not in a “hope so” “wishing” way but in a concrete way that not only will we never walk alone, there is One who always walks with us, One who will never disappoint or abandon us even in those times of great duress, stress, and intense pressures and difficulties!

 Consider Words of Hope, comfort and certainty from Psalm 23:4

 The Psalmists said “though I walk through the valley….”

What a wonderful note of encouragement for those who are in the valley. In the place of darkness, where the evening darkness gathers and the sunlight is hidden. Where it is hard to see in front of you the obstacles and dangers of the known and the unknown which the mind conjures up courtesy of a vicious and evil foe who would have you taken up with the uncertainties and the unknown, the “what if’s,” the fears and anxieties that he flings at God’s people, “fiery darts” of fears, disillusionment, questions about the goodness of God to the mind. But note the good news- dearly beloved of the Lord. David says “though I walk through the valley.” No stopping or camping in the valley for us. No need to look for a “motel 6” whose famous slogan was “we’ll keep the light on for you,” so we can rest a night. We weren’t and are not planning on staying in this valley any longer than we have to, right? Do I hear an “amen!” : ) – oh no, we are walking through this valley. This valley will not conquer us or capture, and contain us!

 We are walking through…moving ever onwards! True, it can often be a valley of uncertainty. A Place where we cannot “control” and we feel vulnerable, helpless, but indeed it is a great tool in the hands of the Master to wean us from self- reliance to resting in the Good Shepherd!

 The valley is but an opportunity to walk through it with a Person. God designs the valleys, determines the length, depth of each valley. Each valley is but another opportunity- as painful as the process may be to learn to walk with and walk through the valley with The Shepherd of your soul the Lord Jesus.

 So what is your particular “valley” today dear friend of the Lamb? Does He not know? Does it seem as though He does not care, or has forgot you? A thousand arrows of darkness assaults the mind of the Christian but we choose to believe our unseen Savior and we know that we WILL walk through this particular valley and with each valley as wearying as they often can be, we can learn to trust Him for the next  part of the journey because our Shepherd  is teaching us to trust in Him who alone is reliable! This same Shepherd once became a Lamb for you- slaughtered, offered up as a sin sacrifice in your place, and His offering accepted by God and on the third day He arose victor over the grave, satan and sin, and now lives to be your SHEPHERD. So you can say, in any and all valleys, “The Lord is MY Shepherd, I shall not want… He is with me, His rod and staff to COMFORT me.”- There is hope in this particular valley for there is God in every valley you will ever encounter to lead and guide and comfort you to continue and enable you to walk through the valleys, for He is with you and “You’ll never walk alone”!


1. -There is EVIL. Evil is there in its various forms! But it is not to be bowed down to nor feared. David says “I will fear no evil…” David had determined, resolutely by his stand and statement of faith. He had nailed his color’s to the mast. He had placed a stake down, whatever about anyone else and their journey through the valley of various types he said “I WILL….”  How often I live by my feelings, like a child “I don’t feel like….” “I feel like…” and I am tossed like a bobbing cork on the raging waves of the sea. Up and down, consistently- inconsistent!  One minute trusting, the next minute doubting.

James speaks of such a one and says “a double minded man will be unstable in all his ways.” Paul spoke of “being tossed to and fro,” like the waves in the ocean. My focus shifting from the storms, or valleys, circumstances to Christ and back again. Like a child awakened in the darkened room of a night. “Feeling” lost, constantly searching for a light that leads to the safety of a parents bedroom. Afraid of the dark, afraid of the silence…afraid of unknown or unmet “monsters” but believing they have to be there because they “feel” they are! Looking at life through ever changing “feelings,” which may or may not be true, rather than through truth itself. The unchanging Word of the Living God. In the valley we must choose to live by faith in our faithful Shepherd and not by “feelings.”

 Don’t get me wrong God has given us emotions, to taste joy and sorrows and all in between to enjoy and to experience something of His own heart. Under His control and seen from His viewpoint they are a gift. But when my feelings govern my mood and my actions and I choose to submit to those fears in the valley then I have forgotten something! Jesus told His own in the world they would have tribulation- pressures…. But He did not stop there, He told them to be of good courage for He had overcome the world.

As Master of the World He is in control. Even your valley is under His caring eye and compassionate heart. Let no one mislead you. There are valley in the Christian lives, times of uncertainty and attacks of fears from without and within- Paul knew this, but we know the evil one’s ultimately goal is to dishearten us by attacking the character of God to us. Whispering “God doesn’t care…How could you be a Christian, look at you… There is no hope for you… Why would God let this happen to you… Where is God ?” Countless and multiple attacks to the mind, but the same evil one has been defeated by the Shepherd who became a Lamb and bore your sins upon His own body and carried them and cast them into the sea of forgetfulness by the power of His sinless sacrifice and an empty tomb and this risen Lord testifies to the defeated foe… He does not, will not, cannot abandon His own, not even in “the valley!” So take heart in your Shepherd!

So note in the valley, you are walking through– there is light at the end of a tunnel- and no- it’s not a train light but the light of His presence who will bring you through with Himself to testify to countless others of His companionship!

 2. There is The LORD who is with and for you. “You are with me, Your rod and staff they Comfort me.” As LORD, this word …

1. -It is used in Exodus 3:15 to reveal the LORD as the Independent One, Self-Existent, in need of nothing or no one outside of Himself. The Eternal “I Am.”

2. – In Deut 7:9 is used of the LORD as the Faithful God, who keeps His Covenant of love. He who promises and has the power to exercise the fulfillment of each promise He makes.

3. – In Malachi 3:6 it is used of the LORD as the Unchanging One. He is consistently the same. Immutable. No change. Always the same.

4. – In Isaiah 45 the LORD is revealed as the Sovereign One. The last five letters of Sovereign- reign… speaks to the meaning, He REIGNS. He is in control. There is no cosmic battle, of a sea -saw struggle between Him and satan or the powers that be. He is God – He reigns over all!

5. – In Gen 24:14 – we see the LORD is Revealed as Jehovah Jireh. The LORD the Provider- He has pre vision and makes Provision. -”So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” The mountain of praise – worship –thanksgiving

6. – EXALTED ONE – who is High and Lifted up- Worshipped and Adored- Isaiah 6:1-6…. And it was Jesus whom Isaiah saw and in Phil 2- it is the LORD Jesus TO WHOM EVERY KNEE shall bow and tongue confess that He is LORD to the glory of God.

7. -In Gen 2:4 the LORD is revealed as GOD!

It is to this One- The Self-Existent, Covenant Keeping, Unchanging Sovereign LORD, the Provider, who is Exalted, who is GOD, that David introduces us to as “LORD.”

 David reminds us that not only will we have valley’s in our lives that we also must remember we are Walking through them– we will not abide in them… we are passing through and in those valleys there are all kinds of evil and fears. “BUT GOD…” Has not left us to defend ourselves, for He Himself the Good Shepherd who laid down His Life, indeed the Great Shepherd who was raised up again on our behalf, The Chief Shepherd who will one day come and receive us into His eternal presence- It is He, the Living Lord Jesus, “my Shepherd” who walks with us and  specifically to walk us through the valleys of fears and evil and to comfort us along the way. We are never alone- Hebrews 13:5. He has promised never to leave, or forsake or abandon us. Indeed in this verse there are 5 negatives in the Greek to assure us- He will never leave us but is always with us!

 The Lord as Risen Master- He is in charge of the valleys. The length of them, the severity of them. He is making a man or woman of faith and it is often in the valleys this takes place.

 No matter how you “feel” you must choose to believe, to place your confidence, fears, feelings all of you cast upon Him and His reputation, and the evidence you do will be to rest in this Unseen Shepherd and His love and care for you and to thank Him if it was not for this particular valley you would not know the REALITY of HIS COMFORT. It is often in the valleys we find our-selves crying out to Him, drawing closer to Him, praying more regularly and specifically to Him. Our faith grows deeper as we learn to trust Him in the storms. Like the roots of a great Oak tree grow deeper so with each storm, though tested , the unseen roots hold the old tree steady in the storms! So as we learn to confide and trust the Shepherd , there is an Inward Strength that He produces and has produced in us and through us and that is, faith anchored in the character and Word of our LORD!

 How strange a thing it seems to be- to experience the comfort of God in this passage and other passages like this which speak of  mourning”…”affliction…” “depressed…” All of these are part of life, of believers and non-believers. “BUT GOD…” Comforts us in our valleys which we are presently walking through…He comforts us with Himself, His Word, His promises and assurances to those promises. He comforts us through His people. {2 Cor 7:6}

 Walk on dear brothers and sisters, followers of the Lamb of God, for He who once laid down His Life for you, took it up again to be the Shepherd of your soul. With his rod and staff, the Shepherd always walks with it when He goes forth with His sheep to feed His flock. It is often bent or crooked at one end. With it He rules and guides, His flock to those green refreshing pastures. With it He defends His sheep from their enemies, and their be countless lurking to take advantage. With it He often corrects when they are disobedient or straying. They have His full attention and He their best interests at heart. They must learn to trust Him who loves them best, as must we- as must you and me presently! The Shepherd always walks ahead of His sheep. He knows the way , for He is the Way, ours to follow Him. His Word is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” He is the Object of our faith, “The LORD IS my Shepherd I shall not want. A young girl at Sunday school was learning to memorize that verse, she stood up to recite it and misquoted it but how true and right she is when she said, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I have no wants.” He is Our Shepherd, who goes ahead of us, He leads us, He guides us, He restores and refreshes us, He comforts us… note from the Psalm how involved, intimately so He is with each of His own. And though the “shadows” may darken, you are never alone, the Strong Victorious Shepherd is with us, He is the One who loves us. He is the one we can trust in, because He is faithful.

 Consider the LORD your Shepherd;

I shall not want”

He makes me lie down in green pastures”

He leads me besides still waters”

 “He restores my soul”

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Names sake.”

His rod and staff they Comfort  me.”

 In the valley, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the reality of Who walks with You and to remind you of His character, His promises, His Hope. Thank God like countless others before you- you too will walk through this valley, not alone but with the lover of your soul the Lord Jesus Christ- whom you can say by faith,“The LORD Is My Shepherd, I shall not want!”  You shall not want anything as together you walk through this valley, you are in!

“Oh what a Friend we have in Jesus all our grief’s and sins to bear,

We may never be discouraged,

Take it to the Lord in Prayer! “

 Are you in a valley? Scared? Feeling all alone? You are not alone, countless, multitudes have the same experiences as you and I. The Difference? We know the Lord of the Valleys! He is the One who walks with us and through us and gives us food and refreshment through His Word, His Spirit, His people along the way.

 Choose to Note His characteristics as your Shepherd in Psalm 23. Note everywhere it says “He” and what are the benefits of the Lord being your Shepherd from each verse- in this your present valley!

 Memorize, Meditate, adore, praise and focus on the Shepherd not the valleys! What great companionship in the valleys we can have if we will but remember even when He seems distant He is nearer than your very breath. He never sleeps nor slumbers always, always lovingly watching over you and leading you through the valley.

 Rejoice in Him and know for certainty, you will not end up in the valley but you are going all the way through the Valley, neither alone, uncared for but with the Lord as Your Shepherd who can help you with every obstacle and knows the way through the valley!!!

 In every valley there exists evil and all its fears but far greater there IS GOD, who IS WITH YOU and FOR YOU… and together- though you may not see how, or “feel” like it, you both- you and your Shepherd will “…walk through the valley!”

 “Walk on with hope in your heart, for You’ll never walk alone, you’ll never walk alone…!”

 I hope and pray my son Evan will know the reality, that he will never walk alone, because of the Love, commitment of the Good Shepherd to him, so he can “walk on with Hope in your heart, for you’ll never walk alone, You’ll never walk alone!”