The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want – Psalm 23:1
This will hopefully be 1 of six in a series of blogs concerning this famous Psalm.
I have been reading much about this Psalm, endeavoring to dig deep and drink well from the message of this Psalm. I have been doing this not only for my own edification, but these short blog posts are hopefully just a snippet of a series of sermons I will deliver at New Covenant Baptist Church in January and February.
Being a pastor means you are called on when death comes. Meeting with the surviving family members of a loved ones is part of the pastoral duties of the charge. When the family asks what they want included in the funeral or memorial service Psalm 23 is mentioned – just about 100% of the time.
It is good to read and recite (if it has been committed to memory) this Psalm at such moments of bereavement. But, to relegate this Psalm onto to times of bereavement is to limit its focus and intent. This Psalm is about life, not only death. It is about living under the care of the great shepherd. It is under his watchful care that we truly find life and that to the full.
The text makes a declarative statement: The Lord is my Shepherd. The word LORD is in all caps in the Authorized Version (as well as other English translations) because it is referring to Jehovah – God. This is none other than the one and only true God. The one self-existing, all powerful, all loving, perfection of Holiness, and one that strikes awe and wonder in the true seeker. He is the one who gives us Jehovah – Jesus – the savior, the one we trust for our eternal salvation.
Before we get to far into the Psalm, it simply must be asked: “Is Jehovah your Shepherd?” He is not everybody’s shepherd by default. Just because you are a living and breathing human being does not mean that the LORD is your shepherd. There is only one way to place yourself under his shepherding care – trust in Jesus as your savior. The one who made a way through his shed blood for your to be forgiven. The one who rose again for you to be justified before a holy God.
One of the amazing “byproducts” of our salvation, is that we get to enter into the pasture where none other than the God of the universe is located to care, watch over, love, feed, and preserved sheep – human beings. It is there in his pasture that we both know and experience the reality of “I shall not want.”
Consider for a moment that the next 5 verses flesh out the “I shall not want”
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: My soul shall not lack for rest
He leadeth me beside the still waters: My soul finds refreshment.
He restoreth my soul: My soul is strengthened and renewed daily.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. I do not lack any instruction on how to love and serve Him
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: I do not lack safety and preservation. For His rod and staff comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: I do not lack provision even amidst forces that wish to do me in.
My cup runneth over. I have abundance of spiritual blessing and nourishment.
I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. I do not lack any spiritual need for all eternity.
May believers in the one true God as expressed in the Savior Jesus Christ truly know what it means to know the Shepherd their Shepherd.