Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No. 06 Yeah Though I Walk???
Most of us are familiar with Psalm 23, and we take great comfort in the strength, and encouragement that it’s truths impart. But I’d like to take just one portion of this passage and examine our lives in light of its truth.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
We all deal with difficulties in life, and Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world, just as He did. But our hope is greater than the conflict and troubles that we may face in life—life in this world. We march to the tune of a different drummer even though we walk in this present earthly domain.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We can walk victoriously in this world because our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the victory at Calvary! He paid the price for sin and gives forgiveness and eternal life to those who come to Him in repentance and faith. But what does this have to do with our passage from Psalm 23? In it I think we can find help and hope for living a victorious life in this corrupt and fallen world. Sometimes it’s so difficult to press on and keep on keeping on when we face devastating circumstances that just seem to keep on coming; whether they be health issues, financial crises, family issues or those situations that we may face because of our faithful service to Jesus Christ The Lord!
Jesus said that we would have tribulation in this world, not that we “might” have trouble/tribulation but that we would face difficulty when we follow Him. Paul told Timothy, his son in the ministry, this very same thing years later, because it is a truth of following Jesus. It will cost us something—many have given their lives because they stood with Jesus. How about you and me? Are we willing to live for Him in a hostile world? Are we willing to “walk” in obedience to our Lord in a hostile world? Or are we hiding our “light” under a bushel? (See Matthew 5:13-16)
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:10-13
Paul reminds us that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”—ALL! Not all at the same time, not all to the same degree, but ALL who will live “godly in Christ Jesus” will “ suffer persecution”! We will pay a price when we stand for Jesus, but how are we to react? How do we handle life when difficulties and/or persecutions may come? We handle it with confidence, not in our circumstances, but in the One to whom we belong. We can go back to Psalm 23 and know that our Shepherd is truly caring for us, even when we are heading into “the valley of the shadow of death”! God’s sovereign grace is always ahead of our crisis!
I have come face-to-face with a bit of infirmity lately with my recent knee surgery, and it has given me a new perspective, one that we often forget or overlook when we are in good health and living free from crisis at any given moment. Being in this place of limited ability and stamina has reminded me how easy it is to forget that there are those that face difficulty every day– just to live life and get by through circumstances that overwhelm the mind, heart and soul! But God wants us to know that we can live “abundant” lives even when we are in the midst of the “valley”, no matter where that valley may be. The secret is to remember that our victory is not in our circumstances but in the Christ who paid the price for our salvation and victory with His own blood on the cross. We must remember that our life, our confident living is based on whose we are, rather than in what we do or do not do, or what we face in any circumstance. It is all about “who” I am in Jesus, and what He has done and is doing to provide us victorious living.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5
When we belong to Jesus we can find victory in all our ways—not always immediately, nor on our schedule, but in God’s time. And when we look at Psalm 23, I think we find a lesson of great value. Our verse in Psalms says, “Yea, though I walk through” the valley, I will fear no evil. Notice that it says, “I walk through”!!! It doesn’t say I lay down and expect GOD to do it all! It doesn’t say I sit down and do nothing while I wait for God to take care of things! It doesn’t even say that I sleep through the difficulty till GOD gets it done. It says I “walk”— we can take a couple of things away from this message, besides the fact that when I walk with God, I don’t have to fear any “evil”. There is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will, but:
- It’s “I”, “me”, “myself” that must hold the line and walk with my Lord, and be actively involved in His work.
- I must “walk” through, not quit, not give up, not lie down on the job, and not leave it to someone else to take care of. It means “I” stand firm and “walk” with the Lord “through” whatever HE leads me to.
Walking with the Lord isn’t easy most of the time, but it is relatively simple when we learn to do things God’s way, knowing that He is absolutely trustworthy and faithful to us, and to His Word! Let’s see what scripture tells us about “walking”.
We’re called to it:
“That ye would walk worthy of God,
who hath called you
unto his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12
It pleases our Lord, and our focus should always be pleasing Him and not men!
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord
unto all pleasing,
in every good work,
in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might,
according to his glorious power,
unto all patience
with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:10-11
Walking worthy reveals God to the fellowship of believers as well as to the world.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech
you that ye walk worthy of the vocation
wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness
forbearing one another
to keep the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
And when we walk with the Lord in obedience and submission it will make a difference in your little circle of the world, and the world at large. But to “walk” with The Lord, we must know Him in redemption and salvation, we can only walk worthy of the Lord when HE dwells within us because of the redeeming blood of Jesus the Lamb of God. And when we know Him and desire to walk worthy of the salvation that He imparts, we ought to strive to know Him and reflect His glory, character and purpose—pleasing and serving God. And Jesus shows us the way in His life.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy,
that ye be likeminded,
having the same love,
being of one accord,
of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other
better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also
on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery
to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient
even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:1-8
Jesus humbled Himself and obeyed His Father all the way to the cross. He came for the cross, and He went there in total devotion to His Father out of love for us and our redemption. And if He would do that for me, what less can I offer to God but to “walk worthy” of His love and sacrifice for all of us? And to keep on walking even when the road becomes difficult and long. After all, the reward is eternity with Jesus, and what difficulty could compare with the glory of God?
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage
again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry,
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit,
that we are the children of God:
17 And if children,
heirs of God,
and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer
that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings
of this present time
are not worthy
to be compared
with the glory
which shall be revealed
in us.” Romans 8:15-18
So won’t you join me in seeking to “walk worthy” of the One who gave Himself for us? May we be found faithful in our devotion to Him, in our service and ministry regardless of how large or small our circle of ministry may be? God didn’t call us to be “great” (as man counts greatness), but He does call us to be faithful to Him, His Word and His kingdom.
If you remember the parable that Jesus taught in regard to the talents, each one was given a different measure of “talents” (money in that culture) but the response was in regard to the faithful service of the three, not the differences of the amounts given. The message was the same to the two faithful servants, and the condemnation was for the lack of faithful service by the third one. What will we hear?
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
Or the condemnation of the third:
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:28-30
So the question I’d like to close with tonight is, “Are we ‘walking’ worthy of our Lord regardless of the road we are facing?”; or are we laying down on the job? Have we determined to know that God will “walk” with us through that “valley” and to faithfully press on? Or have we surrendered to the enemy, laid down our armor and gone to sleep on duty? May we all determine trust to our Shepherd and trust Him in every way, no matter where we are today! Our Lord is faithful in all things.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10