“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Psalm 23:1 AKJV
What are your first thoughts when you think of the 23 Psalm? Often our first thought of this psalm is usually death. Frequently, the familiar 23 Psalm is recited as a psalm of rote that is void of meaning and understanding.
When I spend time with God in the garden of my heart, God teaches me amazing things. This has been true for me in regards to the 23rd Psalm. This psalm is not only about comfort it is also about our relationship with God. Even more importantly, it is a pattern for living and it tells us of God’s plan for our spiritual growth and development. This psalm also explains why we should be able to live a victorious life.
During my quiet time this morning I was remembering that “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” My heart’s response to that thought was, “No God, I don’t think so.” “God I want for plenty!” “God, I want for a new kitchen floor, I want to go on a cruise, I want that gorgeous dress I saw last week when I was shopping, and I want a cleaning lady. In addition to all that I want a day at a spa!! Yes indeed God, I want plenty. I want, I want, and I want some more. God, “I shall not want” is a foreign concept to me. In a world that is full of so many choices and a place where I am inundated with thousands of advertisements and opportunities, how can I help but want?”
My next thought was crystal clear. Paula, you need your “wanter” adjusted. Those things that you desire are all good things but I have not promised you any of those things. When any of those things come to you they come from my hand of blessing. Never because you deserve them but always because I love you!
I began to understand that what I wanted and what I needed were two different things. I began to realize that what I absolutely need is to want for my life what God wants for me. Yes, my Shepherd walks before me and provides for my basic physical needs, but more importantly he wants to provide first and foremost, what it is that my spirit needs. This provision is based on RELATIONSHIP with my personal Savior, Jesus Christ. I need to be in close relationship with my Shepherd so that I can trust him to provide for me. I began to realize that God sees far beyond what I can see or even imagine. He knows what I have needed in the past, what I need today, and what I am going to need tomorrow.
A shepherd marks his sheep so that he knows they belong to him. When we accept Christ we too take his mark. He knows that we belong to him. In fact, he knows us so well he calls us by name. “He calls his own sheep by name” John 10:3b NIV
God is my provider. He provides not only for my material needs but my spiritual needs as well. In this life God’s provision for me first comes in the form of his compassion, mercy, love, forgiveness, and grace. When I belong to him his provision also includes his comfort, peace and joy, as I learn to trust him for all of my needs. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ allows me to say with confidence, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
- From a materialistic viewpoint what “things” do you want?
- Do you want success, money, power, more education, recognition?
- What do you want for your spirit?
- Is your “wanter” in need of repair?
- How do you feel when you know that your Shepherd goes before you making sure that you “shall not want?”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the personal relationship I have with you. Thank you that I can come before you in complete honesty and ask you for anything I want or need as long as I leave the outcome up to you. Today Lord, because I am human and not divine, I need to clear the cobwebs of my mind by telling you all of the materialistic things I want. I know you are not rude and I know you will listen. In fact you may even put them on a personal “wish list” for me for future blessings. But now God, I want to move beyond my wants and ask you, “What is it that you want for me?” Father, please help me to desire for my life the same things you desire for me. Help me to want the spiritual blessings that you so readily want to give me. You alone know what I will need both today and for all of my tomorrows. I know that your care for me also includes my physical needs as well as my spiritual needs. Lord, I trust you. Today I humbly ask you to please fix, repair, adjust, align, and purify my “wanter”. Please remove my spirit of discontentment and greed and replace it with the joy of knowing that you are providing for me all that I need this day. Thank you that you are my Shepherd and with you I am safe. Father, I am incredibly grateful for all of my many blessings and I trust you to provide for me all that I will ever need. It is my joy to know that it is my spirit that is your greatest concern for my life. It is comforting to know that your most important concern for me is to guide me and refine me so I can enjoy your presence forever. Thank you for loving me so lavishly!
In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.