Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The 23rd Psalm. A very well known psalm, especially as read at funerals. This 6 part study of the 23rd psalm will focus on a verse by verse breakdown. I will hopefully shed some light on this psalm that is well known and yet can be overlooked as it is so well known. I pray that this in depth look is as beneficial for you as it is for me.
The Lord. A lord is someone who has power over another. In older times, it was thought that kings “lorded” over the people of the land and were in charge. The capital L extablishes that God is the Lord of Lords. The Lord over all powers that rule on Earth. This is important. We don’t just serve a king. We don’t just serve a lord. We serve THE LORD.
Is. A verb. Is shows that this is present tense. God isn’t a was kind of God. God isn’t a could be God. God IS God. God IS our God. God IS the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. All we have is today. Yesterday is past, the future is unknown. We have the present. We have a God that is in the present. Here with us now. Walked in our shoes and knows us better than we know us. God IS.
My. A possessive word. The passage does not say the shepherd. The passage does not say a shepherd. It says “my” shepherd. David was saying that God is his shepherd and also allowing the readers to know that God can be their shepherd as well. There is something about wanting to be wanted. God wants us to want him, rely on him, need him. God cares deeply for us and wants what is best for us. We need to make the choice whether God will be our God or others God.
Shepherd. A shepherd is someone who watches over sheep. Sheep are, for lack of better word, inherantly dumb. They cannot care for themselves. Left to themselves, they would die of thirst, starvation, fall off a cliff, get eaten by an animal or freeze to death. Sheep do not know what is best for them. They need a caregiver. They need someone to be there to watch over them. We are the sheep. God is our shepherd. He watches over us. He cares for us. He loves us.
I. Another possessive word. Again, allowing the reader and David to insert themselves into the equation. God is our God. I is a powerful word. I, with God, can conquer all. I, with God, can do all things. I, with God, is everything.
Shall. Like is is the present tense, shall refer to the future tense. Shall refers to what is to come. If you shall there is a guarantee that you will receive something. Shall is a guarantee when referring to God and want he can do. God can do all things. He shall take care of us.
Not. A negative word in most cases. Linked with shall, shall not states that an individual will not go without. Shall not also refers to no choice in the matter. It means that you will obey and that is all.
Want. A want is something that you don’t need but would like. God is making sure that our needs and even our wants are met. Not all of our wants, though. The wants need to fall in line with God’s plan. You can want a million dollars all you want but if this is not God’s will, it will not happen. God is there for us.
God is over us and yet our friend. God is taking care our needs and also our wants. With prayer, God will direct us in His paths. God will care for us in ways that we need and even in ways that we do not even know that we need Him. God is working good for all of us through all of life’s battles. God is on our side. He is Lord. Our Lord, taking care of us second by second of every day.
You are our God. Thank You for being our Lord. Thank You for caring for our needs and wants. We never lack when You are on our side. As our Shepherd, we know that You will not let us go without. You are always there for us. I pray that all those who don’t know You come to know You. I pray that they come into the fold and allow You to care for them. Your salvation is what we need. Your salvation for us is freely given, but we know it did not come for free. We know that it came at the cost of Jesus’ life. Thank You for that death and also Your resurrection, defeating death and sin. We owe our lives to You.
In Your name we pray,