Day 1 of Thoughts on Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, ESV).
What do you think of when you think about God? If you’re like me, I think of Him as Creator. I think of someone in power and authority. However, the psalm writer, David, had a different thought entirely. He chose to think of God as a shepherd. It was a profession David knew well. He knew what a good shepherd looked like because that was his own occupation. David loved his sheep; he cared for them like they were his children. He fed them; he guided them; he protected them. Those sheep were his and completely under his care. So why does he call God his shepherd? Because now the tables had turned, and he found himself as a sheep. If he was hungry, it was God who fed him. If he was lost, God guided him back home. If he was under attack, God protected him.
The most dangerous predator to a sheep is the wolf. Imagine if you were a sheep and you drifted away from the flock. You’re lost and all alone—completely vulnerable. Suddenly, you look up and see your biggest fear—a hungry wolf! You know you’re outmatched. You do not possess the strength, skill or speed to defend yourself. How many times did David find himself in this situation? Goliath, Saul and Absalom were all wolves in David’s life. Yet he faced each one of them and persevered. He was a helpless sheep, but God was his shepherd. The only chance sheep have of survival is to fully trust their shepherd and stay right by his side. The more wolves that entered David’s life, the closer he grew to his God. Listen to the words of David in Psalm 3:
“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ Selah. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3:1-5).
David trusted in God so much that he lay down and slept as Absalom’s army approached him! Over and over again God proved to David that He was all he needed. No wonder David would write that “he shall not want.” God tenderly cared for each of his needs and provided for him no matter what situation he found himself in.
Have you ever come face to face with a wolf? Maybe your wolf came in the form of a terrible health diagnosis. Maybe it was a financial problem or lost job. Maybe it was sin in your life. Or maybe it was an actual wolf, because let’s face it, that would be really scary! These situations can easily leave us feeling helpless and outmatched. We stare at the predator and we feel fear. Fear is a result of where our eyes are fixed. When our gaze is fixed on the predator, we fail to see our great Comforter. During times of vulnerability, we will see the true strength of our Shepherd and our God.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
My God is always stronger than my enemy. He will always win. My job is simply to trust Him and obey His voice when He calls.
Looking back over my life, I would never trade away the trials. Believe it or not, I can even thank God for the wolves I’ve faced. God never promised that following Him was going to be easy, but He did promise to be by our side the entire way. Each wolf led to greater trust in my Shepherd. Each trial brought me closer to my God. I can say today more than ever before that I love my God. He provides for my every need so that I have no reason to want. I’ve truly found Him to be a good, Good Shepherd!