The Secret to Not Fearing Evil

Thanks to King Hiram of Tyre

David finally has a royal place to live.

Scripture says that after the palace was complete,

David finally “knew” God had established him as King of Israel.

I wonder how many times he looked from a window of this new home

to the fields in the distance and reflected on his years as a shepherd?

After years of running for his life,

a young sheep herder had officially been seated on the throne.

I’m sure there were many things about those early years in David’s life that were hard and scary –

Protecting sheep from wild animals in search of food

while keeping them away from the edges of cliffs

was no easy task.

But no matter how hard he may have tried,

no amount of royal living could take away the memories of how his life began.

Don’t we all have memories of our beginning?

I know I do.

I remember getting up early,

even on the coldest mornings,

just to ride with my grandpa through his fields in the panhandle of Oklahoma.

With the truck in the lowest gear possible,

Grandpa would leave me in the passenger seat and climb into the bed of the truck

where he would work to leave a trail of hay

for the cattle following along behind us.

I can still see my grandpa’s breath hitting the cold air and billowing out like smoke

as his weathered hands gripped his pitchfork,

slicing each bale of hay into sections like a knife cutting butter.

Grandpa sustained the life of his cattle through many brutal winters.

They trusted in him, and because of this,

they followed him without question.

It’s been a long time since those cold mornings when I bounced along in the cab of a truck

watching my grandpa out the back window

as he did his morning work.

But when I close my eyes,

I’m right there.

The cold leather seat under my little legs

and the oil-covered dash in front of me,

stuffed with what seemed like every bill my grandpa had received in the year before.

This was one of my most favorite places to be.

And I felt at home with my grandpa in sight.

I think David had the same feeling in the field with his sheep.

Maybe that’s why, after years of ruling a kingdom,

he chose to write a Psalm filled with all kinds of allusions

from his years as a young boy,

tending sheep.

He knew what it took to keep sheep alive.

Constant searches for green pastures in a desert-filled country.

Paths that stayed near a safe source of water.

And the right tools, a rod and a staff, for protection

when a journey through dark valleys was unavoidable.

David cared for his sheep.

With the same confidence,

he knew God cared for him.

On the good days and the bad.

My grandpa’s cattle trusted him

just as sheep trust their shepherd……

and David trusted God in the very same way.

Because of this,

he feared no evil.

He had the courage to face whatever came next in life,

because he knew who was leading the way.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

I don’t know about you,

but I need a shepherd.

I need a guide.

I need someone with a rod and a staff

leading the way,

protecting me from the enemy and

pulling me back when I roam too far from safety.

________________________________

What’s the secret to not fearing evil?

It’s remembering He is with me.

Every step of the way.

In green pastures,

by quiet waters,

or

through the darkest valleys.

__________________________________________

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? 

Psalm 27

What, then, shall we say in response to these things?

If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one

. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Romans 8:31-39

(Today’s reading was from II Sam. 5:11-6:23; I Chron. 13-16 Psalm 15; 23-25; 47; 89; 96; 100-10

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