Psalm 23 has always been a great source of strength and encouragement to me. I memorised it many years ago and often go through it verse by verse in my heart when I lie down to sleep at night. It has always been a favourite reading at funerals, but so much more, it’s a psalm for our journey through life.
Recently I was stopped at verse 1 by the words, ‘I shall not want’. The words seemed to shout for my attention. It seemed to me that all the verses that followed reflected different life situations where we can discover the reality of this truth proclaimed in the very first verse.
Perhaps you are weary and heavy laden today, worn out by the circumstances of your life. You shall not want. Your Good Shepherd says to you, “Come to me and I will make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters and you will find rest and restoration for your soul”.
Are you facing one of life’s complex mazes of decisions and choices? You shall not want. As you bring your uncertainty and confusion to Jesus your Wonderful Counsellor, He will lead you into safe paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Do you find yourself in a dark valley where unseen enemies seem to lurk in every shadow? You shall not want, as Jesus your strong Warrior Shepherd walks with you, guarding you and keeping you with His rod and staff.
Are you in the middle of a fierce battle that seems to rage from morning to night and sometimes throughout the night hours? Do you feel besieged and cut off, even from the help and understanding of fellow believers? You shall not want. Even in the very presence of your enemies, your Shepherd, your Servant King lays a table before you to nourish and sustain you in the battle. Like Elijah whose strength and courage failed, and who ran into the desert, you too will stand and minister again in the strength of the Lord. Your head, now bowed and bruised, will be lifted by His Holy Spirit’s anointing, filling you to overflowing.
Does it seem as though the failures and regrets of your past still pursue you in the present? You shall not want, as you let Jesus’ goodness and mercy cover and redeem the deepest wounds and shame to give you beauty instead of ashes. That same goodness and mercy will follow you as your rearguard all the days of your life.
Perhaps, last of all, you lack assurance of a welcome into heaven when you die, even though you love the Lord and know that you’re His child. Hear Him whisper these words into your heart today. ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand’ (John 10:27). When your life ends, even then you shall not want, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Good Shepherd! I love You! Amen.
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