Fear controls and manipulates a huge percentage of people. Fear makes it seem like there is no way out, no way to survive, no way to make it. Fear is a liar! There is always another way!
When we get the doctor’s report, fear will tell you it’s over. Fear never allows a positive outcome. Fear does not leave room for success. Fear will prevent you from framing your world according to God’s design.
It is good to remember that fear is an evil spirit.
Fear Is Not From God
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Notice that the evil spirit of fear is not from God. Fear is not from God! It is from Satan. This is vital information to those who want to thrive and succeed in the Kingdom of God.
As we continue in our series of articles from Psalm 23 about building a better life by correct application of truth, we come to verse four, which deals with fear.
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV) Yea, 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.
David (the author of Psalm 23) has grown to a place of trust in the Lord that in the presence of death, or at least the presumed presence of death, he has no fear of evil. David shows us he is not afraid. A shadow follows substance, so death was at least an imminent threat, yet, David was not afraid.
Fear Has No Power Over Us
Our soul begins and lives without faith until regeneration, or salvation, or the born again experience. When we are born again, we are translated out of the kingdom of darkness, and relocated by the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God.
Colossians 1:13 (NKJV) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
This action breaks the dominion of Satan in our lives. This includes all the ways Satan uses his crew of evil spirits to control and manipulate people, fear being the grand daddy, the big kahuna, the chief spirit in the kingdom of darkness.
Realizing we are free from fear legally by our submission and obedience to the Lord is the key to being in the presence of death yet not be afraid. There are untold legions of believers who have been redeemed from fear and don’t know it! Ignorance in this case is not bliss! Ignorance of spiritual truths can lead to bondage, depression, confusion, sickness and disease, rejection, poverty and lack, and untimely death.
David tells us he was walking through a valley. Valleys often refer to a low point, a time of pressure or stress, or perhaps a loss or defeat. David called the name of this valley “shadow of death”. Not a pleasant place! Yet, he was not afraid. The reason the presence of death did not scare David, did not intimidate him, or even concern him, was his awareness of the presence of God.
The Presence of God Obliterates Fear
This is interesting to me because the Lord has sworn He will never leave us or forsake us. In other words, even though the Lord is always with us, our knowledge of His presence and support is key to victory over fear.
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God has promised every one of us He will never leave you, never forsake you. No matter how bad your valley is, no matter how tough your situation is, no matter how hopeless and impossible it may seem to you, God is with you. Right now! Here are some other witnesses to this important truth.
Psalm 37:28 (NKJV) For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalm 94:14 (NKJV) For the Lord will not cast off His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance.
Isaiah 42:16 (NKJV) I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.
Isaiah 54:10 (NKJV) For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
It is very clear that God has committed to personally assisting and supporting anyone who believes in Him, in any and every possible trial and test of our soul. However, there is a big difference between His commitment and my awareness or understanding of His commitment.
Personal Ignorance of The Word Allows Fear To Rule
I think many Christians feel deserted by the Lord, almost rejected by Him, because their lack of awareness, lack of faith, or simply unbelief about His love and concern for them leads them to think He doesn’t care, is not available, or somehow decided not to help them this time. When they are in their shadow of death experience they feel God is nowhere to be found. This is not God’s fault! He IS committed! He DID die for us! He HAS promised to be there for us! He CANNOT lie!
What is really going on is the destruction of God’s people because they have not sought the truth. We trust human systems and human wisdom, and reject the wisdom of God. Then when fear manifests in a tight spot on that road through the dark valleys of life, we have nothing in our heart to combat and overcome the fear we face. Fear wins, not because it is bigger or stronger or smarter than God, but because we have not chosen truth.
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Notice the progression in this verse. We reject the Bible, the source of knowledge and wisdom. Rejecting the Bible is the same as rejecting Jesus Christ. This leads to personal and overwhelming destruction. Our rejection of His truth not only opens the door to fear and all the other evil spirits, but causes us to lose our covenant role of being a priest of the Lord. We no longer have the right to speak for God to His people, or to bring the cause of His people to Him in prayer. But it gets worse. Since we have chosen to forget God’s Word He deliberately wipes our children from His memory.
Wow! Our children are cut off, our seed is destroyed, because we ignored His Seed, the Word of God. Luke 8:11 and Mark 4:14 specifically refer to God’s Word as His Seed. Our children are our seed. This means that multiple generations of families can be destroyed by one person ignoring and rejecting God’s Word.
God Has Sent The Solution To All Our Fear
Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the absolute sovereign ruler over all things. He created time, space and all physical matter. He came to earth, took on human flesh inside the womb of a virgin, was crucified for your sin, and mine. He died but rose to victory by the resurrection power of His Father. There is nothing left for Him to conquer but the human soul. And He will not do that by force! He is the King of Love. He is ruled by Love. Everything He says and does, every miracle, every manifestation of the Holy Spirit, is motivated by Love.
Psalm 107:20 (NKJV) He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
The Father sent the Son to redeem and save and deliver us from the fear of death and hell. He did not fail in His mission! And now the Living Word of the Living God is available to anyone who believes Him. And that Word contains the power of God and the faith of God Himself!
Psalm 103:2–4 (NKJV)
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
God has provided a perfect and complete solution to all fear. His name is Jesus. We access the deliverance and protection promised by the Lord through His Word. Failure to trust and obey God’s Word leads to being controlled, manipulated, and conquered by the evil spirit of fear.
Faith Always Trumps Fear. Always!
Faith in God is the antidote for fear. No faith means no victory. Little faith means little victory. And great faith produces great victories! Faith is contained in the Word of God. Our lack of commitment to the Words He sent us means we have no weapons to deploy when fear comes knocking. We must build our faith through reading the Word, meditating and pondering what He says, and, most importantly, acting on and obeying the Words He speaks to us.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If faith can come to you, it must be stored somewhere until you call for it. If faith can come, that means it exists somewhere, there is a supply of faith available to all of us. Faith comes as you hear and hear and hear and hear again, the Words of God. God’s Word contains His faith. Every Word of God has enough faith inherent within that Word to manifest that Word to anyone who dares to believe it.
If you choose not to hear from God, you choose to live by the flesh instead of by faith. You also choose to be ruled by fear instead of by love. Not only that, but you choose a future of failure, defeat, and destruction! Choose life! Choose to live by faith! Choose to live under love not fear!
Build Faith Daily
It takes time to grow a 200’ Douglas Fir tree. It takes time to build a 100 story building. And it takes time to develop the faith we need to walk in victory. Every Christian begins the same way. At salvation we are given a measure of faith. What we do with it determines how much victory, success, and prosperity of soul we enjoy as a believer.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV) For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
If you are born again, you have the God-quality of faith inside you. God gives us a seed of His personal faith! This is the faith that created Saturn and Jupiter, and holds them precisely in orbit. This is the same faith that raised Jesus from the dead. And we can learn to grow in faith and overcome the world with it!
1 John 5:4 (NKJV) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
We must be diligent as a new believer (and as a mature believer!) to continuously sow the Word of God into our hearts. It changes our thinking, clarifies and refines our perspectives, and deposits the character of God into our heart.
Mark 4:26–29 (NLT)
26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.
27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.
28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
Here we see the process God designed for all living things. Seed is sown, growth begins, and fruit is produced. We are the farmer, the seed is the Word of God, and the ground or soil is our heart. Planting seeds of fear produces fear, and planting seeds of faith produces faith. Which do you want to live by?
David Grew His Faith
While David was keeping the sheep he was fellowshipping with the Lord. He was growing in his relationship and understanding of God. I believe we can see this in his life story. When Samuel came to anoint a son of Jesse to replace Saul as king of Israel, David, the eighth son of Jesse, wasn’t even invited to the ceremony. He was “keeping the sheep”.
1 Samuel 16:11 (NASB95) And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
The word rendered “tending” is also translated as watching or keeping. It is the same word as in Gen 4:2 where Abel is called a keeper of sheep. David was faithful in his assignment. He expected an older brother to be selected king, and he chose to honor his father and stay on the job. Only a few verses later Saul is looking for a musician to minister to Saul, and one of Saul’s servants had this testimony about David.
1 Samuel 16:18 (NASB95) Then one of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.”
This is evidence of David walking out a genuine relationship with the Lord as a young man. He was growing his faith as he walked with the Lord. When David tells Saul about killing the lion and bear that attacked his sheep, he compares the predators attacking the sheep with the Philistine giant Goliath defying the person of God. David believed in his heart that since he was faithful to the Lord, and was doing the Lord’s work tending the sheep, the lion and the bear had no right to the sheep, and David put his life on the line trusting God to help him.
1 Samuel 17:34–37 (NASB95)
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,
35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
I want to encourage you that God will meet you and deliver you anytime you choose to trust Him. If all you know to do is cry out the name above all names “JESUS!”, the Lord will respond. As we grow in faith, He will require you to apply your faith to the situation and then He will make up the difference. We do not have to be faith giants to experience His deliverance! But we do have to trust Him.
Here is our verse again.
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV) Yea, 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.
I often quote this directly. I acknowledge there may be death in the vicinity, but I declare I fear no evil. I can declare this because I know the Lord is with me. The rod and staff are tools used by shepherds to guide sheep. I thank the Lord for guiding me with His “tools”, the Word and the Holy Spirit. I tell the Lord I take comfort from His Word. I thank Him for the comfort and guidance and strength I receive from His precious Holy Spirit.
I say I am going through the valley, not stopping to visit or setting up camp! My path may have some unsavory elements nearby, but there is a very bright light ahead of me and more light from His Word on my feet as I walk. I am sure and secure knowing I am on the path that leads to my destiny and purpose being fulfilled, no matter what lies fear may try to trip me up with.
Sometimes I insert a current challenge or situation instead of “the valley of the shadow of death”. Any challenge or test has a potential negative outcome, a shadow of death if you will. Combining bedrock principles of confession (calling those things that are not, as though they were, prophesying life and success, saying what I want instead of what I have) with my present dilemma encourages me and relieves the stress of the situation.
Application For Others
One way I use this verse to help others get their world framed according to God’s plan is to thank the Lord for His involvement in their lives, especially if they are not aware of it. I thank Him that He is faithful to be there for them, that He will never leave them or forsake them, and that there is nothing too hard for Him. I ask the Lord to remind them about His promises to them (if they are believers) and pray they would not fear anything if they are not believing. I may bind the spirit of fear over them and release love peace and joy in the name of Jesus.
Sometimes I am led to pray that any doors they have opened be closed to prevent fear’s access to their soul. We open the door to fear primarily by our words. For example, if we use the phrase “I’m afraid”, as in I’m afraid the economy is getting worse, or I’m afraid that storm will hit hard, we are telegraphing loud and clear in the spirit world that fear is welcome to attack us and attach itself to us.
Sometimes fear entered many years ago through a traumatic event, and gets triggered by things the person is not aware of. They may react irrationally, very afraid of things in an unhealthy manner, due to a childhood incident. Fear of certain animals like dogs or snakes can often be traced to a scary incident as a child. If we know about that we may be able to pray effectively against the right of fear to paralyze and torment. We have the authority to bind fear, but if there is an open door into their heart our authority will not work until they realize the door is open and take steps to shut it properly by faith.
If the “shadow of death” is a thing with a name, for example a cancer diagnosis or a substance addiction, I may address that thing directly using my authority in the name of Jesus. As believers we can speak to anything that is against the will of God and bind it and cast it out. Cancer may have a grip on their body but the blood of Jesus was spilled for every person to enjoy life free of all sickness and disease! So I deny the right of cancer to exist in their body because Jesus already died for them to be forgiven and healed, even if they are not born again, or are backsliding in rebellion to the Lord. He still loves them! And he needs someone on earth to fight for their soul according to His will for them.
Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!
1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.
Say this prayer out loud.
Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without you. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!
If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.