Never Alone - Life Doesn't Have to Be Scary
We learned last week that "paths of righteousness" are straight paths that shepherds use to lead their sheep. These paths are not always easy, but they are right. Psalm 27:1 says, "Lead me in a straight path." It is a path of relationship, and one must TRUST who they are following. Sheep also live in community. We do to, so we trust our Shepherd in that context of community. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Acknowledge means to YADA (to know intimately). You trust who you know is faithful.
Psalm 23:4 says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me." We all have fears. Some are real, and some are imagined as "this could happen". A valley with a shadow in it is called a "shadow of death" in shepherd culture. Shepherds always have to travel through these. We must realize that we "pass through" these valleys. We don't stay there. We also "pass through" life and die. Everyone will have a death day. If we are in Christ, from now till death, we will walk through shadows, but never alone!
We tend to talk about God in the green pastures, but we talk to God in the valleys. We see that David transitions to "YOU are with me." It is a personal relationship. The enemy tries to move us towards isolation. We can't live alone.
Whatever fear you have, instead of staring at the fear, stare at the Shepherd. Fears shrink when we look at the majesty of God. 1 John 4:18-19 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us."
To Discuss Today:
1. How well do you "know" God? Do you fully trust Him? Give an example.
2. What are you afraid of? Is that real or hypothetical? Why do you fear that?
3. Take time each day this week to "stare at your Shepherd". His love for you will drive out fear!