In the 23rd Psalm, the Phrase, “I Shall Not Want”….. have you ever given that phrase much thought? I must admit that I have thought about it some but maybe not to the degree that I should have. In my study on the 23rd Psalm I have found some intriguing things that I would like to share with you. The Lord used a great source to help me understand these things and I would highly recommend you checking it out. It is a book by Phillip Keller entitled “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm”. It is an excellent book and one that will grab your attention and you will not be able to put it down. All of the posts on the 23rd Psalm will deal with information discovered by Keller in his work as a literal shepherd with sheep.
The Word “want” here actually has a broader meaning than one might imagine. No doubt the main concept is that of not lacking but can we really know what David was referring to here as he was a shepherd of sheep for many years as well. It was discovered here that a broader meaning is that of being utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more.
We can be sure that David was not really speaking of a materialistic or financial means because we find him experiencing extreme, intense personal poverty and acute hardship and adversity at times in his life. One would recall as David was on the run from Saul in his early years and again as being estranged and on the run from his own son Absalom. Just recently in the Ladies Bible study that I teach on Wednesday mornings we looked at the passage in Revelation 3. We focused in on Rev. 3:17 that states, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Wow…there is it in Scripture that we can posses all that this world affords us physically, materialistically, socially, and relational and I can still be wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked in a spiritual sense. When these attributes characterize my spiritual life, my fascination and excitement with these earthly things will fail me and I will not be able to find peace and contentment deep within me even though all manner of things that this world can give me are scattered about in front of me.
So what exactly does he mean here? I think David could be saying here, “I shall not want or lack the expert care and management of my Master.” Who is your master? Jesus himself even said that it is impossible to serve two master’s. We will hate one and love the other. It is important to understand who our master is and the significance of belonging to that master or shepherd. One is a Good Shepherd and the other is an imposter. The imposter cares nothing for his flock. Because he doesn’t love and care for the sheep, they are weak, thin, impoverished, malnourished and sickly. They are riddled with ticks, parasites, disease, and filth. The imposter abandon’s them and leaves them to fend for themselves. The imposter that I am speaking of here is our enemy Satan. You know you belong to either him or Christ. We are either children of darkness or children of Light, children of a scandalous imposter or children of the King….and the only thing scandalous about our King is His great affection and love for us. There are no boundaries that will prevent Him from being all that a Good Shepherd is for us. The Sheep under His care and management will never want or lack any good thing.
If you and I can entrust ourselves to Christ’s control and management we will find there a radiant, serene and joyous confidence and quiet joy that surmounts all the tragedies of our time. We will find that contentment we long so for. Which, incidently….Contentment should be the hallmark of the man or woman who has put his or her affairs in the hands of God. The paradox we see though in our society is the intense fever of discontent among people who are ever speaking of security. The very thing that they pursue with all their might believing that it will be the thing that provides security for them is the very thing that can be sucked right out from underneath them in a heartbeat. My friend, Christ – the Good Shepherd is the only sure foundation upon which to build ones life. Spend your energies, time, and resources pursing Him and He will fill you and you will never want again.
John 4:13-14 “Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.” NLT