The Lord is my Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:1

Christ the God Shepherd

I’m slightly afraid to admit this on the radio, but I am a gadget fiend. Whenever a new product comes out, I find myself desperately wanting to buy one. I begin rationalising and convince myself that it’s not simply a case of wanting a new toy, but actually needing it. My life would be so much simpler if only I could have the latest gadget. I know I’m not alone in my feelings. This is, after all, how a capitalist marketplace works. We’re conditioned to want more, to desire better, and hang the expense.

Psalm 23 has proven to be a revelation in my life in recent years, so much so that I found myself writing a book about it. It’s a Psalm that we think we all know. Perhaps because it is so familiar to us, we don’t really think about its words.

‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ the Psalmist David begins. He himself had spent his early years tending his father’s flock, so he would have known exactly what it meant to be a shepherd. David knew that the most crucial role of a shepherd is to look after the material needs of his sheep. His sheep would be totally dependent on him for food and water. Without the shepherd, the sheep would surely die, since they would be unable to find food for themselves.

This is the image that David had of God: there was no doubt in his mind that God fulfils the same role for his people. He knew that God looked after him as he looked after his sheep. He trusted God to take care of all of his material needs. He believed this to the extent that he could say with confidence, “I lack nothing.” He knew that all he needed would be provided to him by God.

Sometimes our desire for more material goods can actually make our lives more uncomfortable. We work long hours, we try to gain promotions, we neglect our families, we can even abandon God.

Perhaps rather than falling into the trap of materialism we should strive to be more sheep-like, trusting in God to provide for our needs, and finding contentment in what he has already graciously given us, rather than constantly striving for more and more.

David trusted that God would provide all that he needed, and said with confidence, “the Lord is my shepherd.” I wonder if we can trust in God to provide our needs and say, “the Lord is OUR shepherd?”

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

Listen to this Thought of the Day:

The Lord, My Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Psalm 23:1

We all go through periods in our lives when we feel like we’re struggling. Things get on top of us, and we wonder just how we’re going to make it to the end of the day. It feels like we’re walking through a long, dark tunnel, and are all on our own. We suspect that there is a light at the end of it, but we’re firmly in the middle of it, and cannot see even a pin prick of light from either end. Sometimes, although we know in our heart that God would never desert us, it feels in our head as if he has. I have been in just such a place recently, hence the absence of Daily Readings, but thankfully, with God’s help and the love of my friends and family, I can now see the light flooding into the tunnel, even though I haven’t reached the end yet.

Psalm 23 is one of the most famous bits of the Bible. Most of us know it so well that we become almost immune to what the words mean. I think I’ve been in this position myself, but time and time again over the last few months, I’ve been unable to get the verses out of my head. That’s the reason why over the next couple of weeks we’ll be exploring the Psalm in our Daily Readings.

The opening verse is one of such immense promise. The Lord is our shepherd, we read. Shepherds were interesting characters in the Old Testament. They were isolated from society, and focused entirely on the sheep in their flocks. They would live with them day and night. They would feed them and water them. They would lead them to the best fields. They would take interest in each and every one of their sheep. They would even lay down their lives to protect them. In the same way, the Lord, our God, will look after us and protect us. He loves us, he cares for us, and, through Jesus, he has laid down his life for us.

Since the Lord is our shepherd, we shall not be in want. Just as shepherds provide all that their sheep need, God will look after us and ensure that we want for nothing. He has given us everything we need to live, and will continue to do so.

Maybe you feel like you’re isolated and alone at the moment. You’re not. God loves you, is interested in you as a person, and will provide all that you need to escape this present darkness. Maybe you feel happy and joyous. Remember that it is through God’s provision for you that you are in that enviable position, and that God continues to bless and guide you.