Lately, I’ve been captivated by Psalm 23. It’s a very short and well-known chapter, but it’s brought me encouragement and joy over the past few weeks. I have been especially inspired and challenged by the first verse of this Psalm, and I hope you are too!
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
The Lord isn’t just some shepherd, but He is my shepherd and yours! But what does it mean for the Lord to be our shepherd? Jesus gives some insight into this concept in John 10:11 when He said that He isn’t just any shepherd but the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep.
God isn’t a disengaged employee or someone forced to be with the sheep. He loves the sheep so much that He laid down His life for us. He’s invested in us, devoted to us, and passionate about us. He knows us and wants to be known by us, His sheep.
Sheep aren’t the drivers in the sheep/shepherd relationship. It’s not even a democracy, which automatically makes me a little uncomfortable. At my core, I want to be the one who’s in charge, but that’s not the image Psalm 23 paints. The sheep follow the shepherd, who cares for the sheep.
Because of my desire to be in control, I have been reminding myself that I am the sheep, and it’s my privilege to follow the Lord, my shepherd. Lately, I have been intentionally restating my dependence on the Lord and resubmitting to Him again throughout my day. As a rather opinionated and sometimes unruly sheep, this has been an incredibly humbling and life-giving practice.
Of course, Psalm 23 doesn’t end there. Next, the psalmist, David, goes on to say that he lacks nothing. What a bold assertion, especially for us today!
It’s so tempting to focus on what we want and think we need. We’re constantly told by TV, social media, our friends and neighbors, and our own imaginations that we don’t have enough. It can be easy to believe we’re missing something vital, and we need to remedy that right now.
It can be just as easy to fall into the scarcity mindset. In seasons of lack, we can focus so much on what we don’t have that we miss what we do have. We can come to believe there will never be enough for us and our very real needs.
While David wrote this Psalm in a very different time than we’re living in today, I’m still amazed that he asserted that he lacked nothing. What a bold declaration of faith! That is a level of contentment and trust in the Lord that I don’t currently have but hope to one day possess. So, in the meantime, I’m acknowledging that I’m not there yet, but I would like to be someday.
With this in mind, I’m being more intentional to thank God for what I do have and all the ways He has provided for me. When I bring my needs and wants to God, I also ask for insight into how He sees my current circumstances. I want to see things from God’s perspective so that maybe one day, like David, I will be able to boldly declare that I lack no good thing.
Psalm 23 has been such a sweet reminder of the joy and peace that comes from trusting in the Lord in every area of life. Just like the sheep trust and rely on their shepherds, we can trust and rely on the Lord. And what a good shepherd He is!
No matter where you find yourself today, I hope you will clearly see God’s direction, correction, protection, and provision. I pray that you experience more of the good shepherd as you follow Him throughout your day.