I would like us to look at Psalm 23. Psalm 23 tells the story of the life of sheep; it goes through every season of sheep rearing. I thought I knew the Psalm very well until I read a book dealing with this Psalm from a man who was a shepherd. The name of the book that helped me to see the beauty of this Psalm more is: A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by Phillip Keller.
The Lord is my Shepherd. This may sound like a simple statement void of any depth but let's take a closer look at this comforting thought. "The" this is a definite article. We do not have to guess which one. It is like saying the key that opens my room door is in my pocket. Notice the difference when it is said without specificity, a key in my pocket opens my room's door. Which Lord? The Lord, The Lord means there is only one. There is no other Lord. Ephesians 4:4-6 reminds us that "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." There is only one Lord - The Lord.
This Lord that the psalmist is speaking about is the creator of this world. Genesis 1:1 makes it clear that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." During this summer I was in Washington State and from my location I could see Mount Rainer almost every day. The mountain was the point of focus if you looked in that direction. Your eyes would be drawn to this mountain just because of its sheer size. God created that mountain. I am sure that there are sights that you have seen, natural sights that simply cause you to pause and think about how great God is. Psalm 139 speaks of God as being Omni-present; the psalmist realizes that there is nowhere where he can hide from God. We can go on just talking about The Lord!
I shall not want. I shall not lack. He knows what I have need of. He created me. He sees me, not just externally, but internally as well. He loves me. He will provide for me. He will supply all of my needs. This shepherd provided food for the Children of Israel in the dessert for 40 years. What looks like a lack of resources in our eyes is not in His. He is able to do much more than we can even imagine. God supplies for us. How many times have you seen God provide for you? In my life daily He provides for me.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. These two promises go hand in hand and should give us comfort. The Lord, The Great God of the universe loves us enough to be our shepherd. Jesus said in John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." and He goes on to say "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” The good shepherd loves us.
As we look at this Psalm I hope that we would get a clearer view of the love of God for each one of us. There is much more that could be said from the first verse of Psalm 23, but we will go forward.