Psalm 23: I Shall Not Want

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Psalm 23:1

For most of us, when we think of God as our Shepherd, one scripture passage comes to mind: Psalm 23. For Old Testament Jews, this picture of God as Shepherd would have been rich with associations.

  • It would have reminded them of the Exodus, when God shepherded His people for forty years through an empty wilderness, faithfully providing for their every need.

He led forth His own people like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
He led them safely, so that they did not fear. (Psalm 78:52-53, NASB)

  • It would have reminded them of King David, a simple shepherd who led Israel to their golden age as a nation.

But for me, it’s the personal flavor of the language that draws me. It’s so warm and simple. With most Old Testament references to God as Shepherd, God’s people are the flock. But here, the Lord is MY Shepherd. That gives this psalm its unique appeal.

If the Sovereign, loving God of all reality is my shepherd, what is the logical result?

I shall not want. (v.1b, NASB)

If God Himself is my Shepherd, my perfect Guide and Provider, I will lack nothing. How could I?

  • He is complete in love. He always wants what is best for us.
  • He is complete in wisdom. He always knows what is best for us.
  • He is complete in power. He is able to do all that is best for us.

Of course, our lacking nothing is measured by His perfect wisdom, not by our fear or greed. He supplies everything we need, though not everything we may want. And this sufficiency in Him extends to every area of life, including the demands of holiness in this evil world: His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3, NIV).

The opening words of this Psalm are so very familiar: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, NASB). But what peace would they bring if we could live in them constantly and completely?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, Why Am I Anxious?
Printed Music & Lyrics

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