Psalm 23 is one of the most recognized and recited songs of David in the Old Testament. Over the next few weeks we will be breaking down this Psalm, line by line. Our desire is to really understand why King David wrote this and how it applies to our lives now.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely] goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell] in the house of the Lord forever.
The LORD is my shepherd! David starts his song of thanksgiving and joy after battle with a bold statement that he is all too familiar with. David relates God to a shepherd meaning he is the sheep. David in his younger years was the family shepherd. He knows all too well how the shepherd cares for, leads, protects and preserves the sheep in his flock - Even the great price that can be paid for sheep. David says that the LORD is MY shepherd. That even if no one else follows God, he will. Even when no one else is there to help him and protect him, the LORD will. Not just that the LORD is the shepherd of the world but is specifically David’s shepherd. When we seek God, and follow Him as David did then we find the LORD as our personal shepherd, our protector and provider. Jesus later told a parable in Luke 15, known as the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus tells those around about how a man rejoiced when he went out and found the one lost sheep and left the other ninety-nine to do so. He ends this parable by saying, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) When you say the LORD is MY shepherd, repent of your sins and follow Jesus then there is rejoicing in heaven.
I shall not want! 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 The Apostle Paul knew the secret to being content in any situation, turning to Jesus for his strength and provision. Just as David called the LORD his shepherd, Paul turned to the LORD also for all his needs. We see in other parts of scripture how God provides for His children, like in Luke 12:24,27-30, 24 “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.” Also, in Exodus we see how God provided for His people by supplying manna for them daily, so they could survive in the wilderness all those decades. Isn’t that wonderful? We don’t have to worry about our needs being taken care of, but the passage says, “I shall not want”. We know the difference in needs and wants and here David said he shall not even want. David was content with knowing that the LORD is all he needs that he couldn’t want for anything more. We too can be content with just our faith in Jesus and knowing that He will provide for us and guide us and never leave us. This sounds so great but can be very trying. It takes time to trust God with every part of our lives and we need the Holy Spirit to help show us what parts of our lives we need to grow in. When we trust the LORD as our shepherd and want for nothing more than Him then He will give us the desires of our heart. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4