”The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
Psalm 23 is one of the most recognized portions of Scripture and for a very good reason. Sometimes we think of the lad David sitting on a rock overlooking his sheep grazing peacefully in the meadow and penning this psalm. The reality was far different. This Psalm was written when David and his few men were hiding in a cave with Saul’s murderous army below them. From all outward appearances he would be dead before the next night fall. In that time of extreme stress, he sat down and wrote "The Lord is my Shepherd" - Psalm 23. And from that time on the people of God have turned to it in times of stress, worry, and fear to receive comfort, hope, and victory against the “odds.”
The Lord Is My Shepherd - it starts out with “The Lord.” Begin with the first word: The. It is the Lord, not a Lord. We are mediating on THE Lord, there is no other. He has no competition. There is not even any comparison to any other for to have a comparison you must have at least two similar beings to compare. He is not one of many lords - not even the most powerful of many lords. No, He is THE Lord. The one and only Lord. All pretenders are swept aside under the gaze of His blazing eyes. False gods crumble and are driven from our lives as we stand broken before THE Lord. We acknowledge that we stand helpless and powerless before the Lord of the universe.
The Lord Is My Shepherd. The second word: Lord. Who is this Lord without equal or competition? He is the One who effortlessly created all that is out of nothing by the word of His mouth in six literal days. He did it completely, without error, second guessing, or changing His mind. It was done perfectly the first time. This is the Lord Who is perfect in wisdom, power, and ability to perform all that is in His heart. He is the Lord by right of creation. All things - including all human beings - belong exclusively to Him and are for His pleasure.
Not only is He the Lord by right of creation, but also He is the One who, because of His infinite and perfect love, became human and actually walked on His own created planet. He degraded Himself to be touched, poked, and tortured in a human body in order to save His creation from the cancer of sin which had infected every cell of His mighty universe. He has redeemed to Himself a special people - His Bride, His Church - and brought ultimate restoration to all of His creation. He is also Lord by right of redemption.
This is the Lord we turn to in times of trouble and walk with in times of peace. He is both powerful and loving. He is greater than our minds will ever comprehend - even in the timelessness of eternity - and yet He lives in His fullness in each heart that is yielded to Him. He directs the affairs of the universe and yet He is personally concerned with and involved with the lives of His people. He is never too busy for even the weakest saint - in fact it is those who think they are strong who have a hard time getting His ear!
The Lord Is My Shepherd. Third word: Is. This is an important word. The Lord is... Not the Lord was...although that is true as well. Not the Lord will be...although that is also true. In my distress I don’t need a Lord who worked in the past nor do I need a Lord Who will be in the future. I need a God Who walks with me in the present. I need a Lord I can turn to with tears in my eyes, anger in my heart, shattered dreams, crushed emotions, or whatever and Who is here NOW. The comfort of the Psalm 23 is that the Lord IS. He is here now. He is Lord now. He is all I need now. I don’t have to live on what He did in the past - although I may draw encouragement from remembering it. I don’t have to hope only on what He may do in the future. I have a Lord who IS with me totally and completely in the present.
We’ve only looked at three words. We haven’t even got to such dynamic Truth such as “Shepherd” and “shall not want” - which, by the way, includes our entire spiritual, mental, and emotional being. Perhaps, if you haven’t before, you can begin to see the power of mediating on Psalm 23, particularly in times of trouble or distress. Through it we can calm our fearful spirits or raging emotions and put ourselves in a place where we are able to hear the still small voice of God directing and loving us.
Spend time meditating on The Lord Is My Shepherd.