The Lord is my shepherd - 14 August 2019

Ben Fourie

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1 (NIV) (please read the entire psalm

Really? That the Lord is my sheperd I believe with my whole heart, but not to want anything is something entirely different. Can I ever come to the point where I wil be able to say I have everything. What does it mean not to want. If for instance I have enough bread to still my hunger every day does it mean that where food is concerned I do not want? What about food that will provide the necessary protein or fruit and vegetables for vitamins or just something to break the monotony of eating bread only?

What I have said above is surely not what the poet of Psalm 23 meant. What he wrote about is on an entirely different level. To be satisfied is when your soul is at rest, you are at peace, you are living according to the will of God. If you experience the above, you will not be in want as these are the very places the sheperd takes us.

This may be true, but is there nothing about our daily needs or wants in this psalm? Can I not deduct a kind of theology of prosperity that promises me that no big disaster or illness will ever come across my path? Does this psalm not promise me so much that I can put the medication for my depression in the rubbish bin? If we argue along these lines, we have understood nothing of wat the psalmist want us to understand. The psalm recognizes the “valley of the shadow of death”. We will experience dark times and some of them might be quite unbearable. Illness, loss, depression, you name it. Life even for His chosen flock, is not without suffering, but important to us is: “I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

That is why the poet can say right at the beginning ”I shall not be in want”. With God at my side I will have rest for my soul, I will have peace in my life, I will not fear even when the dark valley opens up before me.

Prayer: With the psalmist I want to thank You that goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and that I will dwell in Your house for ever.

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