Weekly Devotional~ He is always near

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

This is basically the devotional that I needed to read this weekend.  Sometimes it is on my heart to hear what others are talking about, worrying about or concerning themselves with in general and then write about that.  This time it was on my heart to share the very prayer and reminder that I needed. 

If this verse tells us anything it is that the Lord, our Father in Heaven, is always near.  In this simple and likely familiar passage, David praises God for just this one simple thing: His presence and protection.  Continue after the jump for this week's devotional.

Many people, believers and non-believers the same, have lived with the notion that unless they are in God's house or just praying, they are not in the Lord's presence.  Though He tells us He is everywhere we still fall victim to the world's ways and doubt He is anywhere near unless we ask Him to be.  This is simply not the way He works.  No matter what is happening, He is there.  No matter the struggle, the question, the pain or if we tell Him to leave us alone; He is there.

Most profound for me; even if we do not feel one ounce of Him and fear that He truly has forgotten us, He is there.

When we remember the creation of the world and all who dwell in it, it is imperative to recall God's promise to His children.  After the flood that destroyed the world, He promised nothing like it again.  After wars and betrayal and sin so great that it sometimes shakes the throne, He still reaches down to remind us that He is here.  We detached ourselves from Him repeatedly, as a race; it wasn't the other way around.  The wage of this sin is death, and by His grace alone we still walk in His love.  When we are scared and tempted, we must remember that as He was with David, He is with us as well.
The entirety of Psalm 23 is beautiful but this one verse can keep us on track in a "pinch."

The most striking part of this verse (for me personally) is that David says "I will fear no evil."  This tells us that He understood that evil was inevitable.

And isn't it still today?? 

We must take a fearless stand against evil, not simply believe we can avoid it.  For whatever reason, we adapt to certain environments and situations by engaging in denial.  When we deny that sin is real and present, we are bound to live carelessly and detach from God.  If instead we simply choose to fear no evil that is coming our way, we will draw that courage and strength from the Lord and remain in our faith.  In doing so, we remain in His grace.  It is difficult in a moment of fear, temptation or pain to decide to put those emotions aside and lean on faith, and once we have taken the step towards engaging in sin it only becomes more difficult to turn back.  Even though, we can be comforted by the fact that, just as a shepherd controls the flock with a rod and a staff, so does the Lord for His children; He fights off evil and brings back the lost.

The Lord never promised that life would be easy, but He did promise that we'd never be alone.  It is still by His amazing love and compassion that we are allowed to decide whether or not we live in His presence or if we will attempt to take control of our own lives.  In something that seems to be without a choice at all, there is still one;  we can walk in fear, or by faith.  We can let fear drive us to succumb to temptation, or we can choose to walk by faith and keep our eyes on the prize.  God's love precedes sin, and will surely prevail in the end.

Fear no evil, even as we walk through a dead world.  He is here; always has been and always will be.

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