“I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” Psalm 23:4
As Christians we have the treasure of great price and that is the indwelling presence of Christ in us. He surrounds us on every side. Our Shepherd has promised to live with us in our homes, grace our tables, teach us, protect us, support us in our troubles, comfort and strengthen us. He is the Jehovah Shammah – the God who is there. We could not find a closer friend.
As Christians all our security in life and confidence in the midst of every trial lies in the fact that He is with us.“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV
Some versions give a more visual description of this verse – “Indeed, the LORD is the one who will keep on walking in front of you…” (ISV).
What does it mean to have our Shepherd walking in front of us? He will warn us in advance of potential dangers, and direct us in the best places to go. He will remove roadblocks and make the way clear for us. Every enemy who comes against us will flee at the sight of Him. Remember the demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes. Jesus visited him and at the sight of Him, the demons cried out for mercy and, at His command they departed from the man.
“For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12 NASB).
“The God of Israel will protect you from behind” (NLT). The Shepherd does not only go before us, He is behind us as well. And nothing is hidden from His eyes. Every danger that would take us unawares has not escaped His notice, and He will either extinguish those dangers or use them for our ultimate benefit. “No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent” (Psalm 91:10 NIV).
Like the early Christians or believers in many places today, we also may be called to pay a heavy price for believing in Jesus. Or perhaps our Christian faith is treated with hostility by family members or the society we live in. “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:36 NIV). Attacks may come against us from every side, but nothing will destroy us. We have this assurance – and the testimony of the great crowd of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) – that God is there with us right in the middle of every attack. Whatever hurt they may inflict is temporary, and in the end will be transformed by God for our deliverance and victory. Our lives are completely sheltered beneath the arms of our Shepherd.
All of us go through seasons of barrenness or trouble in our lives. There may be times of apparent loss and failure, days of fruitlessness when we seem to sowing endlessly and never reaping, but these are in God’s care and keeping. Like Habbakuk, we may rejoice even in times of lack, “when the fig tree does not blossom” and “the fields produce no food” (Habbakuk 3:17-19). Occasionally the season of trouble may seem interminably prolonged, and we may see no escape; but our lives are in good hands. He is steering the course to a desired end. So in all this, we may stand with unwavering confidence – our Shepherd has promised never to forsake us or leave us to our own devices.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:35-37 NLT).
And the fact that He is there, that He is near, that He lives with us and loves us is sufficient; nothing more is really needed. All your needs will be supernaturally provided for, all your battles fought, as He sweeps you in His arms and shields you from the devastations that come against you.
“He’ll be with you and won’t leave you or abandon you, so never be afraid and never be dismayed” ( Deuteronomy 31:8 ISV).
Father, we thank You for Your promise to remain with us in every season of our lives. So we have no fear of being alone or friendless, for Your love will keep us and lead us on to victory. We are forever safe and secure in this knowledge. We bless Your Holy name.