The Lord is the Shepherd, and We are the Sheep
By Christina Patterson
Psalm 23:1 is surely one of the most popular verses in the Bible. Through this simple illustration of God being our Shepherd, we see how He tenderly takes care to provide, guide, and protect us.
Now if the Lord is our Shepherd, that makes us the sheep. Prone to wander. Entirely and always reliant on our Shepherd, whether we realize it or not. We can't see God as Shepherd if we don't see ourselves as sheep. When we open our eyes to how much we really need and rely on God for everything, the more we realize His provision in our lives. But if we live in the lie that we can do everything on our own, we wander and drift away from our true source, looking for satisfaction in artificial places.
So when David says, "I shall not want," he is acknowledging how completely reliant he is on God as his Shepherd.
“I shall not want” because God, as a good shepherd, will ensure I have everything I need. “I shall not want,” not because of what I've done or can do but because God loves me. “I shall not want” because I know God personally as Shepherd.
A shepherd represents a close and intimate relationship. Whereas a king might do what's best for the majority, a shepherd knows each one of his sheep. A shepherd has deep concern and care, not only for His flock of sheep, but also for each and every single one.
This is how God cares for us. He knows our comings and goings, He knows every hair on our heads, He knows when even one of us is lost, and He has made every provision to find us through His Son Jesus Christ.
Notice that this Psalm does not say I shall not need. In Matthew 6, Jesus makes it clear that God is going to provide for all our physical needs and we shouldn't worry about them. Psalm 23, however, says I shall not want, speaking to our desires.
It's saying that not only can God take care of my physical needs, but He can also fulfill me. He can satisfy my heart.
The word "want" in today's text means to lack, decrease, empty, or run dry. So when David says “I shall not want” he's saying two things:
1. There are areas in my life that only God can fulfill, and He will fulfill them.
2. I've made the decision not to desire anything outside of the scope of what God wants for me.
In this shepherd-sheep relationship with God, I am satisfied.
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