The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.Psalm 23 v1
This is probably one of the most famous and used lines from the Old Testament. Even today a lot of Christians go to this verse in times of need. I had this verse at my baptism and constantly call on it when things get too much.
But what does it really mean? Living in the South East of England, I don’t really get to meet any shepherds. I can only Google to see if they still exist!
So if shepherds don’t exist, does it mean that this verse is outdated, redundant? Obviously no. But what does it really mean to us.
To me I guess it means that I am being protected. God is still there looking after me. Not letting me leave. As a sheep I stay with the pack, wander off or be under threat from predators, likes foxes.
As a sheep I see that I make good and bad decisions. When I am closer to my shepherd, Jesus through the Holy Spirit, I tend to listen more, leading to wiser choices in life. I am happy and content, whatever is going on around me.
When I start to wander, where the grass looks greener and lusher, I tend to ignore the shepherd and start to do my own thing, Normally leading to very unwise choices, anxiety stress and unhappiness.
But the thing that makes my shepherd different to any earthly shepherd is that my shepherd has already left the flock in search of me! He is missing me and wants to protect me from the predators of modern day life. He doesn’t scald me or shake his head at me. He lovingly picks me up in his arms and comforts me. He says it doesn’t matter because you are home now.
My shepherd knows that I won’t just wander off once, but many times. However this is not an excuse to purposely do wrong, let me make that clear. This is when I’m not paying attention and I wander aimlessly away, without even realising. My shepherd never gets tired of picking me up, bringing me home and tending to me in such a graceful and forgiving way, that can never come from anyone in this world.
That is what verse 1 of Psalm 23 means to me. Still so relevant today, tomorrow and forever. What does this verse mean to you?
I do not want because I have everything in Jesus the only shepherd we need.