“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

Psalm 23 is probably one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. Many of us memorized it as a child and have read it innumerable times since. It is a beautiful psalm. This week I began to ponder the first verse. What does it really mean when it says, “I shall not want”?  Have you ever stopped to consider that one simple, yet profound, sentence?

It didn’t take me long to decide the verse does not mean God will give me whatever I desire. While God has blessed me with many good things, a shiny red convertible was not one of them. (I couldn’t afford the taxes and insurance anyway.) This verse has little, if anything, to do with material goods and the riches of this earthly life. Other translations read, “I lack nothing” or “I have what I need.”

The children of Israel lived in a wilderness for forty years. There were no grocery stores with multiple selections. God provided manna—the same thing every day. There were no fancy houses with swimming pools in the back yard. They lived in tents. There were no department stores for shopping or Amazon to deliver packages. They wore the same clothes and shoes—which never wore out. (And we get tired of what’s hanging in our closets!)

Despite their very basic living conditions, the Israelites may not have had everything they wanted, but they did have everything they needed. God provided and they suffered no lack.

“For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” (Deuteronomy 2:7, NKJV)

What Psalm 23 is really telling us is God is enough! If we have Him, we have everything we need. As we read the complete passage, we realize that He provides our true needs: provision, guidance, and protection. He gives us:

  • Green pastures and still waters for rest and refreshing
  • Restoration for our soul
  • Guidance on paths of righteousness
  • Safety, security, and comfort when we walk in dark places
  • Loving care and protection
  • Goodness and mercy
  • A promise to dwell in His house eternally

Philippians 4:19 promises, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (ESV). We may not drive the latest model car, live in the wealthiest neighborhood, or wear designer clothing, but we have the Lord and that’s enough.

It is important to note that the shepherd loves his sheep so much that he will endure personal hardship and danger to keep the flock safe. He willingly places himself between the sheep and any predator, ready to die for his sheep if necessary. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, did die for His sheep.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.” (John 10:11-12, NKJV).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV)

When we understand the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, we then realize we really do not lack anything. We are loved, protected, and cared for. The material goods of this world we once craved will no longer matter because He is enough.

Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10, ESV)

Make Psalm 23 your prayer today. As you read each verse, personalize it by saying your name in place of me, my or mine. Thank the Lord for His provision, guidance, and protection. Let Him know you lack nothing because He is all you need.

Additional Scriptures: Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Psalm 37:25, Matthew 6:25-33, Romans 8:28, Hebrews 13:5, Titus 2:11.

Leave a Comment: How has God been your Good Shepherd recently?

Author

Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

4 Comments

  1. Wow!!! This Psalm has been my everyday prayer for a long long time…I have personalized each section to me… when I read the first sentence I waited on the Lord to give me direction about the word ‘want”. You helped clarity it. Thank you sis.

  2. “How’s that working for you “ the Spirit said to me after returning to a “easy part time job” that I wasn’t ready for. I jumped right into something that I didn’t ask the Lord about. He knew how anxious I was but I didn’t wait for an answer because I didn’t know how/see any results immediately!! So, I’m going to finish my commitment but what a lesson!!

  3. Diane Jordan Reply

    I always enjoy your readings they are uplifting and encouraging to me thank you

  4. MARY MARGARET LEWIS Reply

    Thank you Sis Loudermilk for this beautiful reminder. Although our funds become low by the end of the month the LORD provides us with what we need.
    Amen.

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