“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 14. Where we’re going (2)
Psa 23:4,5 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…
We continue to think to where the Hound of Heaven is pursuing us, where it is He wants to get us to. We have turned to Psalm 23 and changed the analogy from Hound to Shepherd for as a Shepherd the Lord wants to get us to various experiences as His sheep – and as His children. The old sin-nature that still lurks in the background that Satan seek to play on, struggles with these things. That old self-centred and godless outlook that the apostle Paul tells us to put to death, still sometimes hangs over us saying that surely this is all too good to be true to believe. But it isn’t too good to be true, it is what Jesus has earned for us to receive. These things are all the work or expressions of his grace, freely available to us today.
So now David in this psalm declares his confidence, his assurance, that however dark things get, the Shepherd is always there with us and for us. In the times of the 2020-21 Pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns, these were very real challenges. Many struggled with the feelings of loneliness and the fear that was abroad. For many these were times that fitted that description – the darkest valley, where an evil virus lurked, picking off tens of thousands and cutting their lives short, afflicting tens of thousands more with an illness that left some feeling debilitated for months to follow.
Jesus, when he was praying in his closing hours with his disciples before the cross, prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (Jn 17:15) We are to live out our lives in this world where the evil one roams – but not fearful off him or of his works.
How can this be? Well how as it that David was able to say it? I will fear no evil, for you are with me… but then he added something quite significant: “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psa 23:4c) The Living Bible simply puts it, “I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.” That’s what the tools of the shepherd did – warded off predators and guided the sheep. That’s the experience that the Shepherd is leading us towards, knowing He is with us and that He will protect us and guide us. That is the confidence the Lord wants us to have, that is what He is harrying us towards, that is why He is pursuing us onwards because He knows that if left to our own devices, we will wander aimlessly, a prey to the predators that the enemy will send. No, that is not the life He wants for us. He wants us to know a closeness, an intimacy with Him whereby in His presence we feel safe and secure. May it be so.