“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)
Those words, “YOU are with me” are everything to the follower of the Lord. The word “YOU” is actually emphasized in Hebrew (“atah” is an emphatic “YOU”!) It reassures the Lord’s sheep that if we know that God is with us, we can face anything — even death’s shadow.
The most important thing in all the world is to have the presence of God with you, to know that He is “with us.” Because there’s nothing we can’t face if He is with us.
Moses knew this. That’s why in Exodus 33:15, after God told Moses to take the people to the Promised Land by himself but that He would not go with them, Moses said, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” He knew that the ONE thing they could not do without was the presence of God.
— Who cared if there was a river to cross, if God was with them — He’d just split it!
— What did it matter if there were giants in the land — if God was with them, He’d slay them!
— So what if there were cities with walls so thick you could drive chariots on top of them — if God was with them, He could make them all just tumble down!
Moses knew that the most important thing; the only thing that really matters, is that God was with them.
In the Book of Daniel they threw Hananiah, Mishael & Azariah into the fiery furnace, and they saw a 4th man with them, like a Son of God. Those 3 men could go through ANYTHING: even a fiery furnace, if the Lord was with them.
That’s why it is my constant prayer for our church, that GOD WILL BE WITH US. It doesn’t matter who the preacher is, or what songs we sing, or how the program is organized, or whatever projects we try to do — the only thing that really matters is that GOD IS WITH US. If HE is with us, then none of that matters; He can bless and use anything. And if He is NOT with us — then likewise it doesn’t matter what we do; because nothing will work if His presence is not here. So my prayer for our church has been Psalm 67: “God be gracious to us, and bless us, and cause HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON US.” The thing we need more than anything else is for God to be with us.
The same thing is true for our individual lives. We can face anything life throws at us, if we know that God is with us. Thi is why it’s so significant that in Matthew 1 Jesus is called “Immanuel” — “God with us.” If you know Jesus as your Savior, then God really IS “with you”; He is IN you through His Holy Spirit; He is with you to the end of the age; He will never leave you or forsake you. And just like David says here, there is NOTHING you can’t face — not even “the valley of the shadow of death” — when you know that HE is “with me.”