23rd PSALMS: Vs. 1
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (KJV.)
Soldiers sob it in foxholes, preachers recite it at funerals, and, children learn it in Primary Sunday School classes. However, this, the most well know of all verses in the Bible, is also the most all-encompassing promise to be found.
Think about it: “I shall not want!”
But don’t dare think about it for very long — for you will quickly discover that you do have ‘wants’. I daresay that everyone on the earth has wants. A new car, bigger house, better neighborhood, more money, better health, more leisure, travel, love, or a big screen TV.
Even pastors have wants, they want larger congregations, larger contributions, more salvations — the list could go on and on because every single human being on earth has wants.
Could this passage be a provision that was exclusive to David, the writer of this Psalm?
Or—could it perhaps be that it only applies to those who have reached that seemingly unattainable state of bliss in Christ Jesus—that state where all our thoughts are centered on being a servant of Christ Jesus—that place where we have no farther ‘wants’ other than to live only to serve Him?
Or, could it really mean just what it says to us; “All my wants are met by Christ Jesus?”
Remember we are concentrating on ‘wants’ here, not needs. Our ‘needs’ have been promised in Philippians 4:19, where it is written: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. This is further reinforced in 2nd Corinthians 1: 20, that states: ‘For all the promises in God in Him are ‘Yea’ and ‘Amen’.
No other than our Lord himself asked, “Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if fish, will he give him a serpent? If then, being evil you know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7: 9-11)
I choose to take this verse as a promise and that all my ‘wants’ are met. This word translated ‘want’ in the KJV of Psalm 23:1 is the Hebrew word ‘chacer’. In the ancient Hebrew language ‘chacer’ (khaw-sare’) meant: ‘to lack’, ‘to fail’ ‘to decrease’ or, ‘(have) lack’. Nowhere in Psalms 23:1 does it limit this promise to my ‘needs’; it clearly states ‘my wants’. I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty big ‘want’ list.
And to be honest, my ‘wants’ have not all been met.
But wait a moment! At times some or our ‘wants’ are in direct contrast to the commands of the scripture. Could the answer to this apparent contrast between the scriptural promises—and the reality of ‘real’ life—lie in the first portion of this first verse of Psalms 23? You know. . . that portion about “The Lord is my Shepherd.’
Could it possible be that we are not allowing the Lord to be our shepherd?
Have we allowed our dependency upon our own intelligence and abilities to supersede our dependency on Jesus Christ and His ability to fill both our needs and our wants because of our obsession with our wants?
Think about it!
Additional reading: Psalms 34:9, Psalms 34:10, 2nd Peter 1: 3, Hebrews 11:6