First of all, my humble apologies for being so late on this study. It has been a busy, busy week.
In Psalm 23 we read, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
The word “shepherd” is distant to us here in our time and place. It seems to conger up images of fuzzy little animals, and a guy with a stick sitting on a rock in a green meadow. In this misconception the verse isn’t that significant in our minds, because we don’t see the relevance. Is David saying that the Lord is this guy with a stick hanging out with all the fuzzy little animals? Why? In order to fully understand what David means, let’s examine David a bit further. What did this word mean to David? He grew up tending sheep, which was quite a task in those days. We recall in the 1st Samuel 17:34 where a young David told King Saul about his accomplishments as a shepherd. He tells the king he went after lions and bears when they took his sheep. He adds that when they would turn on him, he grabbed them by their hair and killed them. King Saul might not have fully believed David, and written him off as a young man with a big mouth, until he ran to the battlefield, sunk a stone in Goliath’s forehead, and cut his head off. His actions after his speech probably lent some creditability to his speech in the mind of Saul. David knew what shepherds did, he was one. They stood in defense of the innocent, the ones who were in the mouth of the lion and the bear. He put his life on the line for the weak. I believe when he called the Lord his shepherd it was a sign of respect and admiration.
Another observation is David calls the Lord by His precise personal name here, Yahweh. There are several words used for God throughout the Old Testament text, but this is his personal name and not a generic term meaning God. Here David is personally relating the Creator of the universe to a being that removes the lambs from the jaws of the lion and the bear. He then adds he shall not want for anything, because the Lord is his shepherd.
I can’t fathom a better back up when the lions and the bears come to steal away the innocent. Let us acknowledge Him and take time to speak with the Lord this week.
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Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”