Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known passages from the Bible. Many people have memorized it and the words have brought great comfort during pain or tragedy. The beauty of this Psalm is the simple words which come so easily to memory. However simple the language is, the meaning is profound.
It begins, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” This initial statement is David’s confession. David is saying, Lord, You and only You will govern my life. This implies a very personal relationship between David and His Lord.
David understands what he is saying from a practical viewpoint because he draws on his own experience as a shepherd and highlights the role of God: Who He is and what He does.
David understands the
1) needs of the sheep, because sheep require constant attention and the
2) many cares of the shepherd, because the shepherd provided everything for the sheep to thrive.
There was no greater satisfaction for the shepherd than to see his sheep content, well-fed and safe under the shepherd’s care.
The Lord is not just any shepherd, He is THE Shepherd. God speaks of Himself this way in several Old Testament passages (Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 100:3, Psalm 77, Ezekiel 34:7-16). And Jesus embodies the identity of the Shepherd in John 10, I Peter 5:4, Hebrews 13:20 and Matthew 9:36.
The Good Shepherd is personal. The Lord is MY Shepherd. He isn’t random or distant. He has not lost sight of you. God sees you, desires you, loves you and knows you. You belong to Him! He knows your every need. He is personal and relational. The Lord knows intimately how to care for you. The Good Shepherd is the keeper of your heart. He guides, protects, loves, provides, defends and saves you. You are in the care of someone, living the “With God” life. Let God’s abounding goodness, hope, glory and power fill your life with abundance!
Speak this confession whether you “feel” it or not. Allow your spirit to be the boss of your soul: The Lord is my Shepherd. This confession declares your need, by acknowledging your dependence on God and it declares your faith, that you trust the Great Shepherd with your life. In other words, by declaring the Lord is my Shepherd, you are saying, “I trust the Lord’s provision, guidance, love and protection for my life.”
From this confession is the next portion of verse 1, “I lack nothing” or “I shall not want”. There is not a care you have that Jesus will not provide. The world is full of lack! Lack is everywhere when you look at the world’s system. The Kingdom of God is in direct contrast to the world’s system. The secret to this life without lack is faith in God and in God’s full capacity and willingness to meet your needs! See beyond what you can see in the natural world and trust what your faith eyes see.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. David is portraying a life we were meant to enjoy~ a life in which we want for nothing or lack anything. This is available to you and me! Do you live as if this verse is true? Fill your mind with truth. Meditate on Psalm 23. Your Good Shepherd is unlimited in love, unlimited in resources and He generously provides for your every need. Dallas Willard says, “A life without lack is a life in which one is completely satisfied and sustained, no matter what happens.” You will flourish and thrive no matter what life brings you because the Lord is your Shepherd.
Stay near to the Shepherd who gives great care. Turn your mind to God. This is a discipline and a posture of the mind and heart. It takes training and will not happen overnight. Go on this journey with me, walking through Psalm 23. Meditate on Psalm 23. Pray it. Memorize it. Declare it. Confess it.
I have been sitting in Psalm 23 for close to a year now. There is a power in it that we have not experienced because this psalm has been more of a "nursery-rhyme" familiarity which has caused us to lose sight of its profound nature. I invite you to dig deeper into it with me. I know I am just tipping my toe in the ocean of this psalm, but I have to start somewhere. I would love to hear what God is showing you and how you are making this psalm your "home".
To ponder: How have you experienced the Good Shepherd’s provision? Protection? Guidance? How can you begin living as if this is true?