The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in Scripture—even to those who don’t read the Bible often or attend church. The familiarity of it, however, can make it difficult to study it seriously. When we stop to think about it, we realize that the implications for our being sheep aren’t all that flattering. Sheep are not smart animals. Left to their own devices, they disobey, and they wander away. But that is the picture painted here: We are the sheep, and the Lord is our Shepherd.
In Psalm 23, David wrote that when God is our shepherd—the one guiding, caring, and providing for us—we will never find ourselves lacking. Without His care and guidance, we wander (or sometimes run) away, can’t find the sustenance we need, or fail to move out of fear. So, what does it mean that we “shall not want”? It doesn’t mean we won’t ever want more. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever suffer. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience pain or deprivation. But it does mean we have all we need. It means that, regardless of our outward circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13), we will find ourselves cared for by our Shepherd who knows what we need even before we do (Matt. 6:8).
Jesus showed that He is the fulfillment of all that David spoke about in Psalm 23, as our Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18). Our Good Shepherd knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need, and when we need it. He also knows what we don’t need, even when we think we do need it. But we have to know His voice. We have to be able to recognize Him more than any of the other voices we hear. Most of us aren’t people who are content by nature. It becomes tempting to listen to the many voices who tell us where we lack. This includes in our jobs, in our families, in our relationships, and in our finances. But we have a Good Shepherd whose voice can drown out all the rest to remind us that He alone provides all we need. And there, with Him, we lack nothing.
● What are the areas of your life where you have the hardest time being content? Where are you struggling to believe that Jesus is providing you with all you need?
● Can you think of a time when provision came by not getting what you wanted? What did God teach you about His provision through that experience?
● Take some time to thank God for all the ways He has provided in the past. Remember and meditate on how He has been faithful to you. Ask the Lord to settle your heart and mind in contentment with how He is providing for you in the present.