The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. — Psalm 23:1
I don’t know how many times I’ve read or quoted this verse. I hate to admit this, but I think up until very recently I have always focused on the last part…I shall not want. I remember the first time I read it probably 15 years ago. I thought “why would you not want the Lord?” I honestly thought it was the Lord that the writer didn’t want. Of course, eventually I read the rest of the Psalm and I began to understand that it meant that the Lord would provide for my every need and I will never be found wanting for anything as long as I allow Him to lead me as my shepherd. He always has my best interest in mind. Now that I think about this, it is interesting that there are basically two groups of people in the world. There are those who allow the Lord to be their shepherd, these people generally see themselves as more than blessed and are content. Then there are those who wander off and are constantly searching for better…something more. I’ve been in both groups…I like the Lord being my Shepherd!
I’m writing this particular devotional because I always do with Psalm 23:1 exactly what I did in the first paragraph. I always talk about the end of it…I shall not want. I talk about how I was discontent, now I’m content. I talk about how life is a million times better for ME. The part of the verse I should be focused on is “The Lord.” Who is the Lord? Well, He is God the Father in the Old Testament. He is God the Son in the 4 gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He is God the Holy Spirit from Acts through Titus. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lord in the book of the Revelation given to John. He is the one who loves me so much that He gave His life for me. My default destination was Hell. I didn’t have to do anything to be placed on that road…I was already condemned. He loved me so much that He took away my condemnation and gave me righteousness. I didn’t have to try to do right and earn it…my Lord went ahead and gave it to me. Yes, the LORD…He is my shepherd!
I read a little bit about good shepherds and bad shepherds. Bad shepherds really shouldn’t even be shepherds. They don’t really care about the sheep. The sheep are simply their source of income and are treated accordingly. If one gets sick, they would just as soon kill it immediately to keep the others from getting sick. They don’t watch out to make sure that they only eat from green pastures. Instead, they let them stay in one place and destroy the ground and eat until they destroy the roots and they get sick from worms in the ground. They let them drink from whatever water source is available, not the still waters that good shepherds lead them to. They are very harsh and very mean to the sheep. It is obvious that the sheep are not loved. Isn’t this the picture of Satan? It’s pretty easy to tell who he is leading. People by the millions in America are drinking from the fountains of sex and drugs. Many get sexually transmitted diseases, and drugs cause so many to deteriorate extremely fast. Many land in our prison systems…and their shepherd doesn’t even care. I watch kids every day throw their education away simply because their shepherd says “do what you want.“ Their shepherd could not care less about their future. Satan, the bad shepherd, never has the best interest of his flock in mind.
On the other hand, good shepherds keep watch over the flock. They are constantly looking ahead. They are consistently checking for disease, fighting off enemies, making sure the sheep are never in fear and making sure that they are healthy. He wants them to lie down in green pastures. There is none of this making SOME grass available, the good Shepherd wants to lead you to the BEST pasture. There is none of this drinking from nasty water that will make you sick…only the still water that truly satisfies. There is none of this wandering off and letting the enemies that want to devour the sheep have their way. The good Shepherd will go and find that sheep, and if he happens to see the enemy…He destroys that enemy. The happiest, most content and most caring people that I know proudly say “The Lord…He is my Shepherd.”
There are two roads. One of these roads leads to destruction. If you have never made a decision to make Jesus, the good Shepherd, Lord of your life…you are already on that road. All you have to do to walk the path to Hell…is nothing. It is very easy because there is one rule and one rule only… “do what you want.” The other road, the narrow one, has restrictions. If you really think about the restrictions, they are designed to keep you healthy and content. The restrictions are not so the good Shepherd can boast how big and bad He is, though He is, but because He truly loves His flock and wants to lead them in the path of righteousness.
For every person that truly puts their trust in Him, verse 6 is coming. Not only can this life be free of disease. Not only can you be wholly and completely cared for. Not only can you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Not only can you be content with what you have and love God with all your heart…soon and very soon verse 6 is coming!
I will dwell in the house of the Lord…forever!
Which shepherd are you following?