I would to take you on a journey with me through the 23rd Psalm. This passage of scripture has been a profound blessing to me, as well as in my ministry. Here are some lessons God has given me.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This first verse contains a wonderful blessing for the child of God. This verse establishes both our position, and our possession. The little word “my” sets the tone for the whole chapter. This is a personal Psalm, and it has many applications for our Christian life.
Our position is clear here in this first verse the LORD is the shepherd and we are His sheep. His intent is to provide us the things necessary that we need to be good sheep. He will provide us with pasture and water to take care of our need. He will guide us with rod and staff to train us to hear Him. He will teach us the path to take. He will grow us so that we will walk the hard path without His continual voice. As sheep we are prone to wander. The grass that is across the way looks much better to us. The water provided is not as convenient as others. We resent and rebel the rod and the staff. We want to choose our own path. We will obey as far as we can see.
As our shepherd, the Lord does not abandon us as we struggle to do our own thing. His Holy Spirit works in our heart. Our sin is forgiven and our return to the fold is welcomed. It is true that oil is provided for our healing, however scars remain to remind us of our wandering.
Look through my eyes as I look at the Shepherd. I see One who knows me. I see One who loves me. I see One who bore my sins. I see One who died for me. I see One who picks me up, and looks me over to make sure I am not wounded. I see One who combs the dirt of the world out of my wool. I see One who comforts me when I fear. I see One who holds me when I cry. His wish for me is that I obey and fulfill His purpose in my life. He is my personal Shepherd. Religions promote their gods — gods of wood and of stone — gods who can not feel or care. Their gods are dead, and yet they serve them out of fear. Those who do not worship the true God are left without a Shepherd. Yes, our God is a jealous God, One that we should fear, but He is also the God who loves us and has provided for us a Shepherd.
This is not the only verse that deals with the provision of the Lord in our life. Picture a herd of sheep calmly moving along the path. These sheep do not have a worry in the world. Their faith and trust is in the provision of the shepherd. Oh, that we Christians could learn to live without want. We are not content with what the shepherd has provided us, but want what the shepherd has provided others. Many of us go so far as to covet our neighbors goods. We look at the blessings the Shepherd has given others, and we grow bitter with the blessings the Shepherd has given us.
The verse does not promise us we will never have needs. How can we grow our faith if we never have need? How can the Shepherd provide a blessing if there is no need? The life without want comes by walking along with the Shepherd and realizing what is important. We have been so blessed that sometimes we become carnally-minded and want after the things of the world. Living a life close to the Shepherd makes us become more like Him and makes our desires more like His.