Do you like being in charge? Me too. Are there times in your life when you feel like you’re not in charge anymore? I have times like those too. God has something to say to us about being in charge. During those times when we feel like we’re not in charge anymore, we’re right. He’s in charge. During those times when we feel like we are in charge, we’re wrong. He’s in charge then too
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
The 23rd Psalm is probably the most familiar and most quoted of all 150 psalms in the Bible. It was written by David, King of Israel. Now if there was anyone in his time that understood what it meant to be in charge, King David was the one. But we find the opposite sentiment in his Biblical writings. We find a man that, while having a position of great power, openly confessed he was not in charge at all. Psalm 23 is a powerful expression of this truth. Let’s walk through it and discover what King David knew – God is in charge, completely in charge, and that’s a good thing.
The Lord is my shepherd
If we are sheep with a shepherd, we are not in charge of anything. The shepherd controls everything—where we eat, where we drink, where we rest, when we rest, if we rest, and so on. Now, sheep can survive without a shepherd, though probably not for long, since they are not equipped to protect themselves from any predator. It is best for sheep to have a shepherd. But having a shepherd by itself is not necessarily a good thing. If the shepherd is not very good at shepherding that may not work out so well for his sheep. We are fortunate, unlike sheep, in that we get to choose if we’ll have a shepherd and who that shepherd will be. David tells us in this psalm that he has a shepherd and that shepherd is the Lord. And a good choice it is! The Lord is not only a good shepherd but He is The Good Shepherd—He does everything for His sheep even giving His life for them (John 10:14-15).
I shall not want
A good shepherd provides for all the needs of his flock. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need; we will never be without anything we need, ever. Oh, but we love to use the word ‘want’ here don’t we? It says so right there in verse one! We may complain to God, “My cup of ‘wants’ is practically empty, what’s the deal?”
Listen closely. Hear that dripping sound? Or is it more like a rushing sound? Turn around and look! Those are our cups of needs overflowing like water over a spillway! Hear all that peace, comfort, goodness and mercy spilling out? With the Good Shepherd as our shepherd, we will always have more than we will ever need. We will have such an abundance of it, we will be able to (and will be called to) pour it into the cups of others.
He makes me, leads me, guides me
A good shepherd doesn’t pose choices for his flock to consider. The Good Shepherd doesn’t offer up suggestions or options either. The Good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us to calm streams, and guides us to the righteous path. He knows we will not find them on our own. He knows the world will scatter us from each other and drive us away from the things we need. When we stray, He will use the tools at hand, His rod and His staff, to bring us back into the fold. If we stray so far as to become lost and completely separated from the rest, He will search us out and find us, and even carry us on His shoulders back to the fold (Luke 15:3-7)! So He keeps the flock together and on the path that will keep our cups overflowing.
The valley of the shadow of death
A good shepherd knows that his sheep will not live forever. The Good Shepherd knows that we will all face death; we will all walk through the valley. Though we won’t want for that day to ever come, the shepherd knows it must. And when it does, The Good Shepherd will be there with us. When we walk through the valley because of the loss of a loved one, He will be there. He may even use His rod and staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the green pastures and still waters on the other side. When we walk because our own time has come, He will be there. He may even use His rod and His staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the eternal green pastures, the eternal calm streams, and eternal banquet table that He has set especially for us.
He is the Good Shepherd.
He is the Great Shepherd.
He is the Greatest Shepherd of all. That’s the truth.
The Lord is your shepherd,
You shall not want.
He makes you lie down in green pastures;
He leads you beside still waters.
He restores your soul;
He guides you in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
You will fear no evil, for He is with you;
His rod and His staff, they comfort you .
He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies;
He has anointed your head with oil;
Your cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life,
And you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
That’s the YouTruth. The Lord is Your Shepherd