Scripture Reading: Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing”
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23:5 (NIV)
“You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows”
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
“Surely goodness and love, follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life.”
Psalm 23, is perhaps one of the most popular biblical texts to date. It is simple, but soothing to the soul of the reader and believing heart. It has depth and beautifully articulates the relationship of God (Who is portrayed as the shepherd) and the writer (who is the sheep), and expresses the loving care of the shepherd for the sheep.
In the first stanza, David – who is credited as the psalmist – firstly uses two titles to refer to the same person. He refers to God both as “Lord” and “Shepherd”. This ought to bring to the forefront the Sovereignty of God. Our God is God with a Kingdom, He not only reigns in the heavenly places, but also on earth, the created world. Not only does He reign, but he reigns with divine majesty – all kingdoms are subject to Him, all believing hearts are a throne unto Him. In light of, David adds a further dimension; he refers to another character trait, by referring to God as a shepherd. This ought to bring into sharp focus the tender and tireless love of God. He is a God who is present and cares for the sheep; He chooses the best places for the sheep to graze; drink and rest. He leads them on the right paths and provides protection for the sheep, with His rod and staff. The shepherd has the best interest of the sheep at heart.
But how, is it that David can confidently concluded in the first stanza, “I lack nothing”?
Well David tells us that he and God are in a relationship, wherein God is the shepherd and David is the sheep. He says, “The Lord is my shepherd”. On this premise it is possible and justifiable to come to the conclusion that he indeed lacks nothing, simply because of who God is. The very same God, being referred to himself, in conversation with Moses, in the book of Exodus, to be the Great I am, Jehovah Jireh.
In our context, it seems disingenuous to profess such a statement. Living in a world of great need; where poverty is rife, diseases plaguing human and animal populations, people thirsting for love and kindness, people in need of employment and living on debt, just to merely get by. How can it be said that, “we lack not”?!
Well here’s the deal; we need to place God first! God is not happy to see His people in need. He does not desire for us to worry and be stressed out.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us squarely, that we are not to worry about anything. He says, that the same God who is able to care for and supply the needs of his creatures (birds), why would He fail to take care us? Furthermore, He goes on to teach us that we can never add a single hour or day to our lives by worrying. The crux of the matter is that, God’s people must first seek His kingdom and its righteousness and the rest shall be added (given) unto us!
David gives expression that His cup overflows and that [God’s] goodness and loves follows him all the days of his life. This is simply because of his relationship with God. He acknowledges the Kingship of God, His Kingdom and the fullness thereof, in the first stanza, and rests on the promises of God – that the Lord is good and loving – in order to determine that; so long as he lives in relationship with God, his needs are taken care of, not just for a moment or a season, not just for now, but all the days of his life.
Many of us, have failed to put God first in our lives. We treat Him as a spare wheel in the back of a car or a tool in a cluttered room, where we go only when we are in need and that is the reason why we lack so much. We must take God seriously and put Him first! It makes no sense for us to expect to be on God’s priority list, when He is absent from ours.
Put God First! Seek His Kingdom first, and its righteousness (principles) and the Lord will take care of the rest – He will tender to your needs and you will lack nothing.
God, as seen through Christ Jesus, went out of His way in order to have a relationship with His people (his sheep). He sacrificed His throne and glory, descended into the earthly realm, where the sheep are, and gave himself, in totality, body, blood and soul in order to save the sheep. Let not His death be in vain, as Paul expressed in the letter to the church in Corinth, He emptied Himself, becoming poor, so that we might become rich (to gain eternal life).