The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23)
The important question that comes to mind when reading this is; do I believe this statement?
Psalm 23 is one of those famous devotional readings that many of us know by heart. Even those that are not students of scripture will often know the words of Psalm 23 or at least find them slightly familiar. Yet sometimes the familiarity of a passage takes away the powerful message contained in the reading. Psalm 23 is full of encouraging words about God providing peace, security, safety, and presence, yet in many ways the entire Psalm can be summed up in the very first line, the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
Maybe it’s because I’m used to reading the verse in the traditional language in which the line is slightly different (The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want) that to hear the verse in a different translation causes the message to stand out in a different way. But either way the claim that is being made by the Psalmist is the same. When the Lord is in control I will truly lack nothing. And thus the question, do I believe it?
Do I really believe that the Lord is leading my life and is taking care of everything that I need? Do I believe that God is leading me to green pastures or providing for me with quiet waters? Do I believe that even in the darkest moments of my life, when I am traveling through the valley of the shadow of death, that even there the Lord is with me; that there truly is no place where I can escape from the Lord’s presence? Do I honestly believe that in life I will lack nothing?
If I’m honest with myself I must admit that I don’t necessarily live that way. I don’t always live with the realization that because of God I lack nothing. Far too often I live life always wanting something else, trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Too often I consider the things that I want and believe that I need and become distraught because I do not have them. I go to the store and see a new jacket or shirt and begin to want it even though I really don’t need it. Then I become sad, wishing that if I just had more money I could buy the shirt and have something new. I have a vehicle that runs fine. Sure, it’s a little small for my growing family, but it runs fine. However, I’ve convinced myself that I need something bigger, that somehow I am lacking what I need. I see the toys that other children receive from their parents, or the restaurants that others are able to take their wives to, and I start to think that I need that too, those luxuries, those amenities. And If I’m not careful I begin to get angry at God because somehow I don’t have the things I really need. Somehow my life is lacking.
But God has given me all I really need. I really don’t lack anything. While there have been times that money has been tight, we’ve always had food on the table. I’ve always had vehicles to get me from point a to point b. My children have always had plenty of toys to play with and clothes to wear. And while I can’t have all of the things that culture has tried to convince me I need, when I stop and think, I know that in reality I lack nothing. God has taken care of everything for me.
Thank you God for the many blessings you shower on me everyday. I have a beautiful family, a wonderful home, nice cars, and plenty of clothes. I have many who care for me, love me, and pray for me daily. I have been given more than I ever deserved. And all because the Lord has chosen to bless me and shine the light of God’s face upon me. And so today I declare with the Psalmist, The Lord is my shepherd, and because of that, I lack nothing.