Psalm 23 is one of my favorites. I return there often. First, as David begins, he doesn’t say, “The Lord is a Shepherd” (in a general way), or “The Lord is the Shepherd” (in a definitive way), but “The Lord is my Shepherd” (in a personal way). He doesn’t just shepherd the world of Christians, but He shepherds my life in the midst of my relationships and my work.
The question I often begin with as I reflect on this psalm is:
“How is the Lord wanting you to know, to feel, and to be confident that He is shepherding your life in this season?”
The rest of the psalm helps answer that question. No one is a better guide, a better companion, a better counselor, or a better shepherd that He is.
And after affirming that the Lord is his shepherd, David then says, “I shall not want.” What does that mean?
1) When I allow myself to be well shepherded by the Lord, I experience deep contentment. I don’t feel a desperate want for anything (or anyone) but Him.
2) When I respond to the Lord’s shepherding, I begin to realize that I really don’t want anything (or anyone) more than Him. I remember the insight of another psalmist who says, “I have no one in heaven but you, earth has nothing I want besides you (Psalm 73:25-26).” I think of the words of Jesus Himself when He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well (Matthew 6:33).”
So how do you sense the Lord wanting to shepherd you in this new year? What are some places of want or need you want to entrust to Him to meet as He wishes? Where is He wanting to lead you? These would be good questions to ask Him prayerfully.
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