Psalm 23, “I shall not want!”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
(All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.)
“The LORD is my shepherd.” David wrote Psalm 23 and declared that Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD was his Shepherd. He harkened back to Exodus 3:14. The Great “I Am” appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Moses asked God for His name. God told Moses that He is who He is. In other words, God declared that He is the eternal being. There is more to God’s name. LORD is descriptive of God’s covenantal faithfulness. The Hebrews held God’s personal name in such regard that they did not speak His name. God gave His name in the Hebrew verb “to be”. All being, all existence proceeds from the only one who has being, existence in Himself.
I recall one Bible teacher saying that we are misnamed as human beings. We should be called human becomings, since we are always changing from one thing to another. From the time we are born we age. As we age we are maturing. God, however, never changes. He is. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever”, Hebrews 13:8.
So, when David made the declaration that “The LORD is my shepherd” he was stating that He was cared for and guided by the One who alone has eternal being. His declaration was made to the absolute highest and greatest being. More, King David addressed the eternal One as his Shepherd. As such he was declaring intimacy with the Father.
King David knew the LORD. He wrote that the one who led him, cared for him and provided for his needs was the Great “I Am”. As we look at this psalm, we who know the LORD can also state with David the care and providence of God for us. The Gospel of John recorded the “I Am “sayings of Jesus. John 10:11 in particular recorded who this Great “I Am” was and is. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.”
The Apostle Paul wrote these words about Jesus who is the Great “I Am”. “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”, Colossians 1:15-19. The fullness of God was revealed in Jesus who is eternally begotten (not born but proceeding) from the Father.
David wrote Psalm 23 more than 3,000 years ago. Yet for those who profess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead have the Great “I Am” as their Shepherd as David did. King David looked forward to the person and work of Christ. We who trust in Jesus look back at Him.
God’s faithfulness revealed in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is for all who call upon the name of the LORD. We say with King David” The LORD is my Shepherd. Therefore, I trust that the LORD will meet my needs. Because He is my Shepherd, “I shall not want.”
Jesus said do not worry about the needs of life. He said the Father knows my needs and will provide what I truly need.
Confidence in God’s providence is not exclusive to me but applies to everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus! Those who call upon the name of Jesus are those who rely upon and trust in the person and work of Christ.
The object of saving faith is the Jesus revealed in the Bible. He is the God-Man. He is God in the flesh. He is not a created being. He is not the Jesus of another testament, book or philosophy. He is not just a prophet. He is fully God and fully Man. This is the Jesus who promised God’s providence because He is God!
There are two aspects of life in Christ to which David pointed in Psalm 23:1. They are guidance and provision. The Good Shepherd, Jesus guides and provides for His people. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Jesus said that He knows His sheep and He calls them by name, John 10:3-14.
You who hear Jesus through His word follow Him. No one can harm you. You belong to Him. He will provide your needs. You shall not want!