The Good Shepherd, Present In The Valleys

by Kevin Burton

   Christian friend, have you had a visit from the evening wolf?

   As light slips into to darkness on a particularly frustrating day, there is an enemy, sensing the time is right to pounce on you in your state of agitation. This is the evening wolf.

   I got this concept from Alistair Begg, teacher on the national Truth For Life radio ministry.  He wrote about it in a recent message.

   “The evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the morning. This furious creature may promise a picture of our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellowmen,” Begg wrote.

   “How our thoughts howl in our ears: ‘Where is your God now?’ How voracious and greedy they are, swallowing up all suggestions of comfort and remaining as hungry as ever.”

   “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You,” is the truth from Isaiah 26:3 (NASB). But valleys as well as mountains are unavoidable experiences for the Christian. In these valleys lurk the evening wolf.

   “The fiends of hell seen just like evening wolves, for when the flock of Christ are in a cloudy and dark day, and their sun seems to be going down, they arrive to tear and to devour,” Begg writes. “They will scarcely attack the Christian in the daylight of faith, but in the gloomy night of the soul they fall upon him.”

   If you needed to hear this just now, so did I.  Funny how these messages come along just when you need them most. 

   For me, an astounding lack of communication by co-workers this week, some health challenges and frustrations within the family, and my own indecision and doubt made for a toxic mix.

   God knows my story. You have your own story; he knows yours too.

   Thank God that when we face the evening wolf, we can count on Him, the Good Shepherd.

   Psalm 23 is such an oft-quoted passage it can be hard to hear. A part of you is saying “yeah, yeah, I know,” especially you’re your heart is not at ease.

   Ask God to help you slow down and truly hear it now.

   “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

   “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

   Your valley contains the shadow of death, not death itself, which was conquered by Jesus Christ.  Don’t let your own fears or a false teacher, deceive you. 

   “False teachers who craftily and industriously hunt for precious life, devouring men by their falsehoods, are as dangerous and detestable as evening wolves,” Begg writes. “Darkness is their element; deceit is their character; destruction is their end.”
   “They pose the greatest threat to our safety when they wear the sheep’s skin. Blessed is he who is kept from them, for thousands become the prey of grievous wolves that enter within the fold of the church.”

   “What a wonder of grace it is when fierce persecutors are converted, for then the wolf lives with the lamb, and men of cruel, ungovernable dispositions become gentle and teachable. O Lord, convert many like this: For this we will pray tonight,” Begg writes.

   So friend, do your best and I will too, to view these evening wolves through the truth of the safety and protection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    “Great Shepherd, slay these evening wolves, and bid Your sheep lie down in green pastures, undisturbed by unbelief,” is Begg’s prayer and mine. “O Lord who laid down Your life for the sheep, preserve them from the fangs of the wolf.”

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