walk in the word
Category: Your Walk With God
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:2
Let me make a bold statement that I believe with all of my heart. The abundant, victorious, overcoming Christian life is so far superior to anything that a human being could ever experience that it’s really not worthy to be compared to anything.
That is, the Christian life when it’s lived to the fullest. I don’t mean the pseudo-Christian life, as in hanging around Jesus but not really knowing Him. Or the carnal Christian life when you’re living in sin, defeat, and guilt all the time. That’s a drag for sure. The Christian life lived to the fullest is to know your Creator, to walk with Him, to abide in His Word—that is the abundant Christian life and the subject on the table today. That is what Psalm 23 is all about.
I believe David, the great psalmist and king of Israel, wrote this all-time favorite psalm as he reflected on his long life. For a moment, he opened the door of his soul and out flooded the rich experiences of a man after God’s own heart (Scripture says this about no one else). Experientially, he knew and understood things about God that no one else has ever known. He compacted it down into some incredible statements in Psalm 23. Today we’re going to look at the very first one. If you want the whole discussion, tune into the broadcast for the next two weeks.
David begins with this statement. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. This begs the question: I shall not want what?
Now before we get to all the good stuff that is included in that answer, we’ve got to kick out the door some very false teaching about this phrase, “I shall not want.” I hear people distorting it all the time and as a result, some misguided Christians are really frustrated.
#1 Some people would say that I shall not want means that God promises that every one who walks by faith is going to be wealthy. “Look at King David—he was rich. Look at Abraham and Solomon—they were rich.” To which I would reply, “Look at Elijah—he was poor. Look at the apostles—they were poor. Look at Jesus Christ Himself who said, ‘I don’t even have a place to lay down My head!’” I shall not want doesn’t promise financial prosperity. Anyone who tells you that is twisting Scripture and setting you up for disappointment. Got it?
#2 The Bible doesn’t promise health. Some people would say that if you come to the cross of Christ, you will never get sick again. And if you do get sick, it’s because you lack faith, they say. Does the Bible teach that? The Apostle Paul himself had a physical infirmity the Lord did not take away. I doubt if many people would say they have greater faith than Paul.
It heaps great judgment on the people of God to say that every one always every where will be healed. However, let us not back up so far from that false teaching that we put God in a box. “I am the Lord that heals” is as true today as it ever was. I believe that God does supernaturally heal but not on demand nor every person all the time.
Lastly, I shall not want does not mean happiness. It doesn’t mean you will never have down times. We all go through times of discouragement that challenge our faith. In fact, Hebrews 12:6 tells us that hardship in life is a confirmation of God’s love.
So—put all those false teachings out on the curb and let’s sit down at the real banquet table. Here’s what I shall not want does promise:
First of all, I shall not want definitely means you don’t need to be anxious about food, shelter and clothing. God promised repeatedly that He will supply those needs.
As I reflected upon the Psalm, I also saw something deeper. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. Think about this: I shall not want what? I shall not want another shepherd. I shall not want another master. The expert care of my Master Jesus is all that I desire. I am completely content with His management of my life. Though life is not perfect, He has never failed me. Though there have been disappointments and difficulties, He has always kept His promises. I have never sought Him, but I have found in Him all that I need Him to be. The Lord is my shepherd and I don’t want another one. Isn’t that rich?
I shall not want is also a statement about self-control. Think about all the pain in life caused by wanting. “I want this” and “I want to go there” and “I want to do that” and “I want to experience this.” Think of how much aggravation comes into your life because of the things you want. Now let the fresh air of God’s Word blow across your heart, I shall not want. What would it take to come to the place in your life where if someone were to say to you, “Wouldn’t your life be a little better if you had more of . . .?” you would be able to answer, “Listen—I have the Lord! He is all I need. And if I need some more, I’ll get more of Him!” I shall not want—it’s a statement of self-control.
Andy lastly, it’s a statement of security. Notice David’s confidence. He didn’t say, “I might not want” [nor] “I hope I won’t want.” He said, “I shall not want.” Past, present, or future? Future! David said, “The more I walk with my shepherd, the more I see Him reducing my desires for other things in my life. Close to Him? Don’t want much else. Far from Him? I’m caught up in nonsense.” David said, “You know, if I keep going in this direction, I believe there is a day coming when I shall not want anything because the Lord is my shepherd.” That’s a phenomenal statement. Talk about having something out in front of you as a goal for your life!
The Lord is my shepherd, I don’t want anything—not another shepherd, not another thing. He is enough. Now that is the abundant, victorious, overcoming Christian life and it’s better than anything we could ever imagine.
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