Bethel Logo

“With Us?”  - March 27, 2020

“I will fear no evil for YOU are with me.” Psalm 23:4

So far in these reflections we have looked at parts of two psalms.   Both are from what someone [Walter Brueggemann] has referred to as psalms of disorientation.  Usually the writers of such psalms are crying out from the depths of a vexing confusion and chaos that threatens to undo them.  From thick darkness, they are wondering where in the world is the world going and where in the world is God.  Psalms of chaos and disorientation, as if someone had spun you around in a dark and unfamiliar room and expected you to find your way out. 

Today’s line comes from the most familiar of all psalms, Psalm 23.  In contrast to others, it is a psalm of new orientation.  It’s the kind of psalm in which the writer may have been through the darkness, may have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, may have heard the steps of the pestilence that stalks at midday, and still says, ‘I see God and I know who to follow.’  It provides a way of seeing that is not overcome by the shadows.

The key to finding and holding onto that outlook comes through verse 4 and the word “you.”  In the original poem, it is the only time that the strong, direct pronoun (you) refers to God, the Lord.   The word comes in the center verse.  It’s the central Word in the psalm.  In a Hebrew poem that center word is almost always the one of greatest importance.  Imagine it capitalized and bolded.

“I will fear no evil for YOU are with me.” 

The presence of God - the compassionate, the strong, the loving, the gracious presence of the Lord, of Yahweh.  Right there in the middle, right there in the midst of all of our living and dying.  Right here with us in the middle of this Covid-19 outbreak and its severe consequences.  

God is with us. Right when we need him most, right-here in the right-now the Lord is present.  “I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me.’  YOU are with me, indeed.

In these times, we look to Jesus Christ (the God-with-us Person) and to God’s Spirit to reassure us of his presence.


PRAYER ENCOURAGEMENT:  Prayerfully listen to the song “I Shall Not Want” which uses another well-known line from Psalm 23; just click on the link (thanks to Jenica for recommending this song) …