I Shall Not Want.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1)
I shall not be in want. David’s most famous psalm is so familiar that we forget what a radical, counter-cultural statement this is. I shall not be in want. It’s a statement. It’s not a question, recollection or aspiration. David is talking about contentment and satisfaction right here, right now.
He doesn’t say, ‘I might not be in want’. He doesn’t say, ‘I’ll only want a few things’. He doesn’t say ‘If I get this one thing, then I won’t be in want’. No, he says ‘I shall not be in want’. It’s a profession of faith, a declaration of trust, a challenge to counter our natural cravings.
Why is he so confident? Because the Lord was his shepherd. If there’s no shepherd, the sheep are right to worry; but when the shepherd is there they have everything they need. Jesus is our good shepherd – He gives us everything we need (John 10:11).
It’s easy to feel want at the moment. Just look at all the panic buying, millions of people worrying that they will want in a few days’ or weeks’ time if they don’t stock up now. A few days into lockdown and we already want our freedom, and I don’t know about you, but I want back all the plans and good things I’d lined up for the spring that are now being cancelled left, right and centre. It’s natural to want and worry.
But what the Bible speaks to us is neither easy nor natural. It’s a completely alien mindset to our secular society, but it’s what we need to hear nonetheless. Only in Jesus can we find contentment and security from want. Only Jesus gives us the rest (v. 2), restoration (v. 3) and reassurance (v. 4) that we need. His provision is certain, both for tomorrow and for however far you want to look into the future.
Times might be hard now, but, like David, we can be confident of the Lord’s goodness. The psalm starts with a statement of trust (v. 1), but it ends with expectation of overflowing goodness and love (v. 5-6). Yes, there’s a dark valley in-between (v. 4), but if we walk this road with our shepherd, we can set our minds at rest, and know that we’ll come through ok.
If you need rest, restoration or reassurance at this time; if you need peace, protection or provision, turn to Jesus. If He’s not your shepherd yet, what are you waiting for?
If you want to discover more of Psalm 23, check out the longer post I wrote on it for my Strongholds series.