So I’m a nerd…LOL!!! I love learning and my ALL TIME FAVORITE subject to learn about is GOD! When something intrigues me and sparks my interest, I really endeavor to become a student of the subject matter and I go in to research. I like looking at something at various different angles to get a fuller understanding of the concept. When Psalm 23 caught my attention, as if it was the first time, I knew I had to take my time with this one. So today, let’s focus on Verse ONE!!!
Below, you will find the verse in several different versions of the Word. Each version gives a different twist to the scripture and with each one, the level of revelation as to who the Lord is to us and want to be in our lives is just illuminated all the more!
KJV – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
AMP – “The LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.”
NIV – “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
CEV – “You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.”
NLT – “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
MSG – “GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.”
First, let’s look at God as our Shepherd. A shepherd is a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep. He protects, guides, and watches over his sheep very carefully. The amplified version of the verse gives us further elaboration by telling us that shepherds feed, guide, and shield the sheep. A shepherd’s job is to know each and every one of his sheep so intricately; to teach his sheep the way of life and to build the sheep’s trust in him so that all he has to do is make a noise or a gesture and the sheep knows to follow him above everyone else. John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (NIV) The shepherd spends time with each an every one of his sheep, they develop a deep relationship and they can tell the distinction in the tones in which the shepherd speaks. The sheep learn to trust the shepherd with each interaction that they have. The sheep know that they can come to the shepherd for their every want and desire. When they need to be fed, it is the shepherd who feeds them, when they need to know which direction to go, the shepherd guides them, when larger animals try to come and attack them, it is the shepherd who protects them from the enemy. The shepherd shows the sheep in those moments that he would give up his life for the sheep and their well being. The sheep watch the shepherd reaction when one of the herd gets lost; they watch him leave all the others to search for that one and then they watch him return happily with the victory on his face because his lost sheep has returned home. As they watch the words, actions, and deeds of the shepherd, each and every sheep knows he is detrimentally important to the shepherd.
John 10: 27-28 gives us a glimpse of the relationship that is developed between the shepherd and the sheep.”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” There are benefits to following the shepherd and the sheep develop an understanding of that really quickly.
- They are KNOWN and therefore seen: Have you ever had the feeling of being invisible, insignificant, inadequate especially in the presence of those you look up to, admire, or even those with some modicum of authority. You often compare yourself to the likes of them and think to yourself, “there is no possible way that they see me let alone know who I am” Well this passage says that our Father, the Good Shepherd, in all of His Majesty and Splendor sees us and knows us and calls us His own!
- They will LIVE FOREVER: John 3:16 reminds us that if we live our lives BELIEVING on Him, we shall not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE! So when the Shepherd calls, we hear Him, we Believe Him, and we Follow Him. Our Shepherd will never lead us astray, in His guidance and direction there is safety from dangers seen and unseen. Our Shepherd is the Alpha and Omega, He Sees All, Knows All, and is Everywhere all the time. With this immutable fact, it behooves the sheep to follow wholeheartedly, without wavering, because we know the expected end…ETERNAL LIFE!
- They will NEVER PERISH: Death is a touchy subject for many [and another topic for another blog…because if we really looked at death in a spiritual sense…through God’s lens…whooooo!!! SMILE]. BUT PERISH takes death to a whole new level!
Perish: A verb – to die or be destroyed through violence, to pass away or disappear, to suffer destruction or ruin, to suffer spiritual death
Violence, Destruction, Ruin, and Spiritual Death (total separation from God) describe the act of perishing. There is no safety, there is no deliverance, there is no salvation for one that perishes because they won’t follow the Shepherds voice. BUT!!!! I Love that word sometimes…SMILE!!! BUT when we take heed to the voice of God and we OBEY and FOLLOW Him, we are protected!
- They will NEVER be SEPARATED from the Shepherd: How many of you have the testimony of being lost and separated from your caretakers when you were a child? Even if it was for a minute, that moment feels like an eternity to a lost child. The feeling of separation brings friends along to join the party: Anxiety, Worry, Doubt, Fear, Desperation, Despondence, and Hopelessness…just to name a few! When sheep don’t follow the Shepherd, they lose their covering, they have no place to run for safety, and they relinquish their rights to a place of shelter from danger and trouble. Psalm 91:2 says that our God, our Shepherd, is our refuge and our fortress so not only does he provide a safe place for us to dwell, but He makes sure that it is so well protected that the enemy cannot come close!
So with all these great benefits, it’s easy to understand why the sheep can say that they shall not want! The sheep have a deep connection with the Lord which is why it is so easy to make such a declaration. And the deeper and the longer the sheep commune with the shepherd, the declaration intensifies because of the time invested and spent.
- I shall not want: Shall means to plan to, intend to, or expect to. The sheep say I don’t expect to want anything because I know who my source is. If I go to my shepherd, he will supply my every need.
- I lack nothing: The sheep realize that they are satisfied with what their shepherd has provided. There is no deficiency in what they receive from the Lord and ALL their needs are met!
- I will never be in need: The sheep realize that there will NEVER be a time in which they will need something and their shepherd doesn’t supply it for them. Psalm 84:11 reminds us that He will not withhold any good thing for those who walk uprightly; therefore, we will never be in need as long as we stay connected to our Shepherd.
- I have all that I need: The more time spent with the Shepherd shows the sheep that they truly have everything they need and they are sustained. They can’t even think of something else they might need because it has already been provided. They realize that their Good Good Shepherd is MORE THAN ENOUGH!!!
- I don’t need a thing: This is where it gets really sweet! When a sheep can make this declaration, they have really relished in their time spent with their shepherd and see Him as their ultimate source. “It is in Him that we live and move and have our being!” (Acts 17:28)
Following our Great Shepherd, as a lifestyle and not just a one-time event, leads us to declare that we DON’T NEED A THING! In good times, in bad times, in joy and in sorrow we find that our wonderful Shepherd supplies all our needs! It is never deficient, it is never inadequate, it is just right! Thank You Lord!
Here is a video that was so inspiring as I studied this verse. I pray it is a blessing to you!
We would love to hear your thoughts on this beautiful verse…drop a line in the comments below! God Bless!