“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Ps 23:1
In this short verse there is such assurance and power! The amazing thing is that power comes, not in complex theological terms or long words but in the simplest of English.
The Lord IS... No shadow of doubt, no past or future tense, no conditions, no questions just an unequivocal declaration of present certainty. The Lord IS my Shepherd.
The Lord is MY... No sharing, no observing others, no family inheritance just an intensely personal devotion and belonging to the Shepherd. Many of us struggle with the reality of a personal and intimate relationship with the God who created and rules the universe. Well, take heart, so did the author of Psalm 23! In Psalm 8:4 David wrote, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”. Yet he was able to say with confidence “the Lord IS MY Shepherd” because he knew his God and, even more, was known by God. The apostle Paul explained the same revelation to the Galatians, “But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Gal.4:9)
It is in this intimate familiarity, surrender and vulnerability before God that we find our knowledge of the Shepherd and can respond to His voice, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). It’s knowing Him in worship, prayer and the voice of His Word and Spirit that gives us the faith to confidently say “I lack nothing”. I trust Him wholeheartedly to care for me not based on my wishes but providing all that I need to live for Him.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
In one horrible moment we once lost our youngest daughter on a huge packed beachfront. One minute she was by our side and then she was gone. She was only five years of age and somehow, she had wandered off. She could not see us, and panic began to set in and suddenly a world that seemed so safe and fun was a scary unfamiliar place. Being a sensible girl, she found someone to ask who called a lifeguard. After searching for what seemed an eternity (probably 5 minutes!), she saw us! As she grabbed hold of her Mum, tears flowed but the deep-rooted knowledge that Mum and Dad loved her brought all the relief and comfort she needed.
In an uncertain and alien world for us, it’s the familiarity and sure knowledge that the Lord IS MY Shepherd that comforts and assures us that we belong to Him, the Good Shepherd.
• Commit verse 1 of Psalm 23 to memory. Repeat it 100 times and see what happens!
• After the 100 repetitions, grab a notebook and write down what thoughts the Holy Spirit has planted in your mind. It may be one word or a person or a prophetic encouragement. If appropriate, share it with someone.