I can’t speak for anyone else, but I learned a lot in our study of the 23rd Psalm last Sunday. During my preparation, I enjoyed going through the psalm line-by-line, trying to understand each statement in its historical context, and then applying it to my own life.
The idea that I found most challenging was this: Whenever my well-being is threatened, let my Shepherd deal with it. He will either deliver me from it, or through it.
What would that look like in YOUR life?
I Shall Not Be in Want
Someone once told me that the hardest thing about preaching is deciding what to leave out. I have certainly found that to be true. Last Sunday, because our time was limited, I had to skip over several important lines from the 23rd Psalm.
Here’s a critical one that I did not address: “The LORD is my shepherd, I SHALL NOT BE IN WANT.” It’s the second part that I skipped over.
The statement “I shall not be in want” can throw people off. This is because we immediately equate want with desire. And what we read is, I won’t ever desire anything or have any of my desires unmet.
That, of course, does not square with reality. We all have desires that go unmet. For example, I desire to win the lottery, but it’s highly unlikely that I will ever do so. Does that render the psalmist’s statement false or misleading?
A Middle Eastern shepherd explains: “The main concept is that of not lacking – not deficient -- in proper care, management, or husbandry.” In other words, with God our shepherd, we will never lack anything that the shepherd thinks is good for us.
The shepherd adds: “But a second emphasis is the idea of being utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care.”
Remember, David is writing from the perspective of a sheep and thus what he’s saying in verse 1 is: I’m content with God as my shepherd. He then goes on to explain why: he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, etc.
Are you content with God’s shepherding of you? Or, are you constantly DIScontented? If so, why is that? What accounts for that?
A lack of contentment usually boils down to a lack of trust. I’m discontented because I don’t trust God’s shepherding of me at this point in time. Whenever we’re thinking/feeling that way, we need to confess our doubts to God and ask for His help in trusting him.