I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
When I read this psalm, I always picture a Sunday school version of David, the shepherd boy, sitting on a peaceful hillside on a summer night. He is strumming his lyre as happy lambs are softly baa-ing under the starry sky. I imagine him watching over his contented flock in a lush, green pasture, the sound of a nearby stream gurgling. He reaches for a papyrus scroll from his backpack and begins to write,
“The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.”
Except that’s all wrong.
When King David wrote this famous psalm, he was probably on the run from his own son, who was trying to depose him and take over the kingdom. David and his entourage had left Jerusalem, weeping openly, in order to avoid conflict with his boy. Things were falling apart in his nation.
For the first time in years, the King found himself away from the palace and sleeping under the stars, reminding him of his sheep-herding days.
Then it hit him.
“The Lord is the one who is shepherding me.” (ISV)
“I do not lack.” (YLT)
David was away from his office, unable to carry on his normal duties, and isolating in the desert. His future was uncertain, he was emotionally spent and physically exhausted. He wasn’t sitting on a peaceful hillside, he wasn’t strumming his lyre, all wasn’t right with the world. Yet, David did reach for a scroll and he did begin to write,
“Yahweh is my shepherd; I will not lack for anything.” (LEB)
That’s what faith sounds like.
The first duty of a sheep is confidence in the Shepherd. — Spurgeon ❤️