"THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD"
By Wayne S. Walker
"The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). The word "want" here means "lack" or "need." Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for provisions. Just a good shepherd will lead his flock to green pastures where they will have grass to eat and beside quiet streams where they will have water to drink, so our Shepherd offers us living water by which we shall never thirst and living bread by which we can live forever (John 4:10-14, 6:48-51). He invites us to feast with Him, saying, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:2-3).
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for protection. The job of the shepherd is to protect the sheep from predators such as wolves. A hireling will see the wolf coming and flee, leaving the sheep (John 10:12). However, our Shepherd wants to protect us so much that if "one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray" (Matthew 18:12-13).
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for guidance. Sheep are of such a nature that they easily tend to stray. "You were like sheep going astray" (1 Peter 2:25). However, Jesus came as the Good Shepherd to guide us that we might return to our God and then to lead us in the right way. Of course, this guidance places upon us the responsibility to hear His voice and follow Him. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). The Shepherd will not force us. We must willingly listen to Him and follow after Him.
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for salvation. To save his sheep from danger, the shepherd is even willing to risk his own life. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Jesus did not just risk His life; He actually gave it. "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). I recognize that I need spiritual nutrition. I understand that I need spiritual protection from the dangers of this world to my soul. I realize that I need guidance to help me travel in the right pathway. And I certainly need salvation. Therefore, it is of great comfort to know that "the Lord is my Shepherd."