The following series of blog post will explore each verse of the beloved twenty-third Psalm. These posts are based on a set of sermons I preached through in the summer of 2017. I pray for your soul to find encouragement, comfort, and challenge through this psalm.
Why Psalm 23? Out of the 150 Psalms, which are short lyrical pieces for singing, Psalm 23 is well-beloved Psalm and is one of the most well known. This psalm is attributed to David. He wrote about the care and comfort God gives to his people. Psalm 23 has provided a source of inspiration to people throughout time and continues today.
Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The Lord is my Shepherd – Yahweh Rohi
Shepherd language is all through Scripture. It seems as if the shepherd metaphor is one of the Lord’s favorite descriptions of Himself. Look at the sample of the Old and New Testament passages.
Isa. 40:11, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
Jer. 31:10, “Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”
Ez. 34:12, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
Ez. 34:23, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Heb. 13:20, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
1 Pet. 5:4, “And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
The truth David shares essential to notice is “the Lord is my shepherd.” The Lord is not distant and unmoved by our condition. David noted a personal relationship with the Lord and the remainder of the psalm details the benefits of this close proximity to the Shepherd of our souls. We are his sheep. We are ignorant and straightforward because of the limitations of our nature. Our nature is one that requires outside care and substance to sustain us. The Lord is my Shepherd, and He provides the care I need. All of us who are a part of the Lord’s flock can rejoice and be at rest because of our Shepherd.
I shall not want.
David does not mean we will receive all our desires. It does not mean we won’t face difficulties. The exclamation “I shall not want” means, I will not lack care from my Shepherd. I shall not want for salvation, acceptance, or hope. There is no other that can provide these blessings. We will not find our salvation insufficient on the day of judgment. God’s grace alone is sufficient for all my need in this present life (2 Cor. 12:9). Only through our relationship with Jesus will we find peace in this world and hope for the world to come. May we rest in this statement, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”