Psalm 23:1 \”The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.\”
While I know that this Psalm is well known, and you probably have even heard the teaching before. I felt like I needed to share this with you (who are reading it). I found this to be a very powerful and insightful Psalm. I imagine David was most likely in the field with his Dad\’s sheep, probably some distance away from home when he wrote this. So then David is thinking as a shpeherd himself when writing this out. His take could be seen as, \”If I care this much for my Fathers sheep, how much does MY Shepherd care about me?\” He sets the tone for it in the first verse, and then brings the revelation in the remaining verses. So lets dig-in for a minute….
\”Want\” as a Hebrew word carries with it a three-fold definition. Readers digest version is this; to lack, fail, (be) lessened. If you read this verse in the NIV it says, \”I shall not be in want\”; this implies that want is actually a destination. This is NOT just a state of being, but a place you can arrive to and be consumed(surrounded) by.
NOT LACK –
We most commonly deal with the lack portion of this scripture to the neglect of the implications of the second and third definition. However lack implies all things physical and spiritual. As a shepherd, his attention is drawn to the needs of the sheep. Fields and waters imply both spiritual and physical restoration taking place in our lives through God\’s leadership. God will lead you into his provision you must simply follow where he is going. In another place, David says I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging bread\” He has known god to be the provider for ALL his needs. God is a benevolent God who supplies our needs (not our wants). What is lacking in our lives, both physically and spiritually ALL come from God\’s abundance and his love and care for the sheep. In truth, to have lack in your life, begs the question of whether or not you have faith that is resting and standing upon His revelation as Jehovah Jireh \”In the Lord it shall be seen\”; his character speaks of his knowledge of what is lacking and his provision that can meet it.
As our shepherd, God\’s takes a different approach when dealing with failures in our lives. David, however, says I shall not fail. that almost makes him sound like he is automatically perfect. We all know this to be false, so then what might David be saying here? David sees failure as always a possibility (we are after-all human and prone to error), but not an absolute state of being. Failure is always an option. We cannot be afraid to fail in our endeavors to pursue the Kingdom of God. Failure at the very least speaks to the fact that you tried something.
In David\’s mind God has a pathway for us to follow, one that leads to provision and success, but we still as created beings have the option to choose door #2. We fail only when we get off of the path God has planned out for us. But even in this, failure is simply an opportunity for God to show himself mighty on our behalf through dispensing his forgiveness and Grace. David puts it that way when he says that God\’s rod and staff are comforting to him. When a sheep moves off and is alone (a type of coming out from under the protection of the Lord) as a means to pull that sheep back in and protect, the Shepherd uses [God has given us] the rod and staff (discipline through mercy and Protection through Grace).
This is a powerful truth if we can realize that failure really isn\’t ever failure when the Lord is our Shepherd.
BE LESSENED –
Lastly you are absolutely valuable to the Lord! A shepherd knows the value of his sheep. He knows them by name, he cares for them individually as he would the corporate group. He spends quality time with them, to the point of sleeping with them. God sees us as a shepherd sees sheep; an investment and worth investing time and effort into. David goes so far as to say that He values me so much that he will display honor towards me in the Presence of my enemies. We can get caught up in listening to the voices of those around us who are belittling us and devaluing us. We have to remind ourselves that God values us above the angels! God is for us, he has placed the ultimate value on us; the price of the Blood of His Son Jesus. There is no greater value than that!
When you think about the 23rd Psalm, I pray that this thought will challenge you to see the deeper thought David is having when it comes to God as the GREAT SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP.