January 5th, 2021 – Psalm 23:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Psalm 23:1   The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

Over the next week I will be looking at Psalm 23, probably the most familiar of all the psalms.  It is a psalm of David.  There is no indication as to what prompted him writing this for there is nothing in the Psalm that gives any historical information.  However, what we do know is that David is exhibiting extreme confidence in the Lord, believing that He will take complete care of him.  We will start this with Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1 

In verse one, he is declaring how God is our shepherd.   The main role of a shepherd was to take care of sheep.  It was their responsibility to keep the flock intact, protect them from predators or thieves, and to guide them to where they needed to go.  You can see how this is a clear picture of how God takes care of His people.  He will keep His people (in our time, the church) together, will protect us from the schemes of the enemy, both temporal and spiritual, and how He guides us to where He wants us to go.  We read in Genesis where Jehovah is called the shepherd of His people.  “But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)” Genesis 49:24.  He is also referred to as a shepherd by Isaiah when he said, “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” Isaiah 40:11. 

However, the best picture of Him as shepherd is from Jesus Himself.  “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me. even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:11-15.  Let us look at this in detail.

First, He says He “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11.  This is a statement made by Jesus regarding His purpose in coming to earth.  The reason He came here was to lay down His life for his people.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 3:8.  He willingly died for our sins, for we could not make things right on our own.  And He did this willingly.  We are His sheep, and He willingly laid down His life for us.  He knows His sheep and did what was needed to save them.  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15. 

What David was saying in Psalm 23:1 is that God is our shepherd.  He protects us, guides us, and willingly died for us through His son Jesus Christ.  And the end of this verse says, “I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1b.  As the shepherd, He provides everything we need, up to and including the way of salvation.  I like the way the theologian Albert Barnes puts it.  “The meaning is, that, as a shepherd, he would make all needful provision for his flock, and evince all proper care for it. The words shall not want, as applied to the psalmist, would embrace everything that could be a proper object of desire, whether temporal or spiritual, whether pertaining to the body or the soul, whether having reference to time or to eternity. There is no reason for supposing that David limited this to his temporal necessities, or to the present life, but the idea manifestly is that God would provide all that was needful for him always.”   And this, Jesus has done.  He is our good shepherd and has met every need we have, even if we are not aware they have been met.  So, let us, as Christians, trust that our every need has been met, for through so doing peace will be a part of our life here on earth.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

To see previous devotions, simply click Additional Resources then under Verse of the Day Devotion Archive, select the desired year.  You can also search by verse once you click the year.  There are other resources available for you to look through as well.

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