The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. (מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד יְהוָה רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר) Psalm 23:1
This Psalm is oft quoted for a variety of reasons. The oddest one that leaps to mind is when it's recited at a funeral or someone's death bed. Nothing about this Psalm says death, dying or drying near to any of that. In fact, quite the opposite.
Since the death of my husband I think about death and diseases a lot. Not in a morbid weird way but pondering why people get sick and die that know the Lord. Before you send me a message with your reasonings attached, let me save you the digital ink and tell you- you don't know and neither do I. There could be a number of reasons. None of which amounts to God's will. It is not His will that we physically die. If it were then why did Jesus raise not one, not two, but at least three people while walking the earth? (Raising the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:11–17, Raising the daughter of Jairus — Luke 8:40–56, Raising Lazarus — John 11:17–44)
And why did He tell us we would do greater works? I know, it's a hard one right? (John 14:12)
And why on earth do believers get sick, so sick, and sometimes die? These have been grapplings when I go prayer walking. As I pray over the city I live in, or drive on the streets I am fully confident that the Lord means for all who know Him to be made well. And yet...
The one thought that keeps popping up is the problem does not lie with God (it never does), but rather with us.
Which led me to Psalm 23. Thinking how many quote this at a funeral and hospital sick bed, I realized goodness, we sure take a beautiful word and cause it to suit our needs. In a desperate moment to bring comfort, we quote a Psalm that if we knew what it meant, perhaps we would have raised the dead or restored the sick one back to health. Could it be that the lack of seeing people raised from the dead and cancer irradiated lies within those who pray, or perhaps even those who teach others about the Word of God? The thing is, when we don't see things line up in our lives the way the bible says they are suppose to, very often we blame God or rewrite doctrine to fit the circumstance we find ourselves in.
Let's forget about sick and dead people for a sec, let's instead think about those in lack. Maybe it's you or someone close to you has a lack of some kind. According to Psalm 23 David is reminding himself that the Lord is his Shepherd, in Him he lacks nothing. In Psalm 34:9 David admonishes the rest of us to fear the Lord with the promise that who those who fear God will have no want in them, there is nothing reserved or kept back from them by God.
Verse 10 of Psalm 34 says it again in a different way, even the young lions lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
So rather than following Romans 12 & not being conformed to the world but being transformed by renewing our minds, our culture has made a habit of being squeezed and pressed into the cultural norms of the day. Seems we find a twisting scripture to suit the needs of the day instead of forcing the days to look as scripture told us they would.
The word in the Greek for being conformed is the word used for being pressed down, molded and shaped to be an identical replication. In other words, in Romans we are told emphatically "don't be squeezed into the pattern of this world's mold", but we are to instead let transformation take place by renewing our minds.
Renewing our thought life.
Renewing our emotions.
Renewing our will.
Renewing our affections.
Renew how we do everything, think about everything and feel about literally every single thing.
The Word of God says if we fear Him and following His ways, we literally lack no good thing. Not just nothing, we won't want for any good thing. The surrounding culture will tell us we need to seek other means of provision because economy, viruses, cut backs, markets etc. But the Word of God says the total opposite. Fear God, lack no good thing.
That about sums it up, doesn't it?
In Psalm 23 you'll notice is the script talks about God's covenant names. A covenant is a no way you will ever ever not never break the binding agreement you made otherwise, you promise if you do break it, you will be torn into two gruesome pieces. When people cut a covenant back in the day, they would take animals, cut them in half and walk down the middle as a symbol to say "If I break this covenant may what happened to these animals happen to me". That my friend, is a serious deal making. Incidentally, this is the pattern that marriage follows, hence the walking down and aisle with "witnesses" on either side. It's a symbol of a covenant relationship. As a child who has had parents remarried 4 times, I pray that we begin to view it as such once again.
The thing is, God Himself, made a covenant with Abraham. Fast forward to us, Jesus made a new and better covenant with us. Hebrews 8:6 says, "Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as He is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises." The shed blood of Jesus on the cross made it possible for us to now share in all the blessings of Abraham's covenant and more besides!
So when you see the name LORD in all caps like that in scripture, that is a clue that what is being said is a covenant name, or about to describe one of His promises to us. His covenant name means He swears by it, He holds fast to it and He will never break the promise of being that to and for us.
The covenant name being addressed by David in verse one is YHVH Jireh, the LORD is my Provider. One of God's names as Provider is basically Him saying He cannot not be anything but what that word means.He is not a man that He should lie.(Numbers 23:19) Names are a huge deal. Your name means something, it is a prophecy over you and your life and even your character. But humans can let themselves and others down by not living up to the name they have. But God, no way. God never lets anyone down, He can't. It's impossible for Him to not be the name He says He is.
That is God as YHVH (yahweh) Jireh. The Lord is Provider. You can call Him, Provider and pray to Him as Provider. The early Pilgrims certainly did. Hence we have Providence, RI. That was a name they called God, Providence. They KNEW He was Provider.
So when David says, "the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want", he is actually using two names for God. Shepherd and Provider. The name Shepherd has a list of attributes in itself! Think of a shepherd with its sheep. Protector, comforter, rescuer, defender, and provider.
As I roll out this series on Psalm 23, begin to think and pray through the covenant names I share. Remember that He is your provider, He is your Shepherd. Do you see Him as that? If not begin to ask Him to remind you of this portion of Himself. Seek our Provider and our Shepherd as simply that. He wants to show you, I can promise you He does.