A journey of a lifetime
You, O Lord, are my Shepherd. I will never be in need. Literally ‘I shall not be in want’ Or ‘I shall lack no good thing’, or ‘I’ll not be in lack of anything that is needful!’
In a nutshell, we could read the opening verse as thus: ‘because the Lord is my Shepherd, he’ll supply everything I need’, or ‘He’ll ensure I do not lack the necessities of life!’ The sheep under the shepherd’s care was not just a commodity, something to use for his own needs. In those days the shepherd actually cared for his flock and the individual sheep in the flock! “HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU THINK GOD [OUR GOOD SHEPHERD] CARES FOR HIS FLOCK AND THE INDIVIDUAL SHEEP IN THE FLOCK?”
Here’s what Phillip Keller has to say! “When all is said and done the welfare of any flock is entirely dependent upon the management afforded them by their owner. The tenant sheep man on the farm next to my first ranch was the most indifferent manager I had ever met. He was not concerned about the condition of his sheep. His land was neglected. He gave little or no time to his flock, letting them pretty well forage for themselves as best they could, both summer and winter. They fell prey to dogs, cougars and rustlers.
Every year these poor creatures were forced to gnaw away at bare brown fields and impoverished pastures. Every winter there was a shortage of nourishing hay and wholesome grain to feed the hungry ewes. Shelter to safeguard and protect the suffering sheep from storms and blizzards was scanty and inadequate.
They had only polluted, muddy water to drink. There had been a lack of salt and other trace minerals needed to offset their sickly pastures. In their thin, weak and diseased condition these poor sheep were a pathetic sight. In my mind’s eye I can still see them standing at the fence, huddled sadly in little knots, staring wistfully through the wires at the rich pastures on the other side.
To all their distress, the heartless, selfish owner seemed utterly callous and indifferent. He simply did not care. What if his sheep did WANT green grass; fresh water; shade; safety or shelter from the storms? What if they did WANT relief from wounds, bruises, disease and parasites? He ignored their needs — he couldn’t care less. Why should he — they were just sheep — fit only for the slaughterhouse.
I have become increasingly aware of one thing … It is … the Master in people’s lives who makes the difference in their destiny. Despite an unparalleled wealth in material assets we are outstandingly insecure and unsure of ourselves and well nigh bankrupt in spiritual values. Always men are searching for safety beyond themselves. They are restless, unsettled, covetous, greedy for more — wanting this and that, yet never really satisfied in spirit. By contrast the simple Christian, the humble person, the Shepherd’s sheep can stand up proudly and boast. “The Lord is my Shepherd — I shall not want.” Phillip Keller [A shepherd looks at Psalm 23]
PRAYER. Thank you Lord that you want to provide us with all that we need, and though we may not get all that we want, nevertheless we shall never be in want and that’s because of your loving care for us. David the shepherd said of you O God ‘I have been young and now I am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry’. Psalm 37:25 TLB Thank you Lord that on this journey of our lifetime I/we have never been forsaken by you. At times we have left the right paths, but that’s been our choice and still you have got us back on track and supplied our every need. For that I am ever grateful. Amen.