FEARING NO EVIL!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil …” (Psalm 23:4). These words are powerful! When we repeat them we feel powerful, energized and inspired to run through troops and leap over walls. “I will fear no evil...” However, when we take stock and reality sets in, we must admit that these words are easier said than done. Truth be told we are often afraid. The valley of death, the valley of the shadow of death, frightens us. We oftentimes are afraid of the dark. We are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of loneliness. We are afraid of death. We are afraid of certain diseases. We are afraid of the seemingly unstoppable Coronavirus pandemic. We are afraid for our loved ones with underlying health issues, that make them more susceptible to contracting this virus and succumbing to it. We are unceasingly stalked by fear.
We are sometimes afraid of life with all its ups and down. Others are just plain afraid. Life has so affected them that instead of embracing it, they have become increasingly intimidated by it, more concerned with dying than living. Living fearlessly is admirable, but we must confess, many of us are not there yet. This is a biblical mandate and principle that many of us are still striving to achieve by the grace of the Almighty God. May we get to live this “fearless” life David so eloquently discourses on in Psalm 23:4.
In order to help us get there, especially in these most difficult, uncharted times, we must carefully observe and consider what David the Shepherd/King said next. He said “For thou art with me …” Then it begins to make sense. The knowledge of the fact, that we are divinely accompanied, can cause fear to be severely diminished and nullified. When we carefully consider that we stand daily in the presence of the absolutely fearless One, we become more and more confident not just to repeat these words as a mantra, but to actually put them into practice in our everyday lives. They become part of our belief system, lived out through all the vicissitudes of our lives. Through Him and Him alone, we get to live the abundant and triumphant life!
This was David’s consolation, that Jehovah-Elohim, the supreme God; God the Creator (Gen 5:1); the King (Psalm 47:7,8); the Judge (Psalm 50:6); the Lord (Psalm 86:12); and the Savior (Hosea 13:4); — walked step by step, day by day, minute by minute with him. Therefore, instead of passing out in fear and allowing fear to overrule, David speaks about “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). We walk bravely, fearing no evil. No evil prevails, once we are overshadowed by the absolutely Invincible One! Fear recedes as we conscientiously obey His word, becoming more aware of the reality of this comforting, abiding presence. Knowing how always afraid we are, He said to his church, “Do not be afraid.” Here we return to the Divine “Fear Not” of scripture. He repeatedly says to His beloved church — relinquish fear — Trust Me!
· God told Abraham, “Do not be afraid.”
· God told Isaac, “Do not be afraid.”
· God told Jacob, “Do not be afraid.”
· God told Moses — on three occasions — “Do not be afraid.”
· Three times he told Joshua — “Do not be afraid.”
· On ten occasions Jesus told His disciples, “Do not be afraid.”
· “Twice He told Paul, “Do not be afraid.”
Let it be known right now, He is still speaking to this twenty-first century church in terms of fearing no evil. Receiving His precious word, this is how we aspire to live in spite of all that is moving and shaking all around us. We shall not die but live even through this in Jesus’ name. “I will fear no evil ...” Psalm 23:4.
Leroy V. Greenaway — Presiding Bishop, Northeast Region
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional, Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region