Scripture: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 ESV
Observation: Today begins a series on the most well-known psalm of the 150 that comprise our psalter. David, our author, spent his teen years as a shepherd and knew well the shepherd’s responsibilities: to guide, protect, and nurture. In this opening verse, David sets the tone utilizes the first-person, personal pronoun to declare that Yahweh is his Shepherd—reflecting his maturing faith founded on an intimate relationship with the Lord. And the second clause, “I shall not want,” reveals David’s childlike trust in God’s care: to meet all his needs (the word “want” here does not refer to “desire” but to the necessities that sustain life).
Takeaway: David likely wrote this psalm as a young king who had seen God lead him to victories over enemies (whether Goliath or other warring neighbors) and guide him from harm’s way (on the run from Saul). And when he needed provisions of food and shelter, friends and allies extended a helping hand (Ahimelech and Abigail, for instance). Thus, David confidently declares in this psalm that he shall not want—for anything.
So how did his trusting mindset play out in his life? Did David always rely on the Lord? No, and the outcome was disastrous. The whole incident with Bathsheba reminds us that when we take matters into our own hands and pursue the excesses of ungodly passions and desires over our needs, it will not go well for us. Moreover, our Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus, reminds us that when we seek even our needs, failing to trust in our Father’s provisions, we will bear the burden of anxiety (Matthew 6:25-34). In contrast, when we rely on our Lord to meet all the necessities of life, exhibiting a childlike faith, we shall not want—and will gain Jesus’ peace and rest (Matthew 11:25-30).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that in Christ, our Good Shepherd, we want for nothing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Would you please help us to exhibit a childlike faith in trusting for your provision, that we might know your Son’s peace and rest? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling