We all know how the first truth in Psalm 23 ends: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want“.

This is not want in the sense of all the things you want for yourself, but the older English usage of want in the sense of being in need of something. Psalm 23:1 means that “I shall not be in want“, “I shall not be lacking“, or “I shall not be deprived.”

The very first implication for us about having the LORD as our shepherd is that we have everything we need and don’t lack anything. What a wonderful truth this is. As the rest of the Psalm elaborates, the LORD as our shepherd provides for us in all our daily needs (Ps 23:2), spiritual needs (Ps 23:3), and emotional needs (Ps 23:4).

You might not, like David, be a king for which the details of verse 5 might be applicable, but all those details are merely God’s protection of and blessings to David in his professional capacity. In other words, the LORD as our shepherd, provides all we need to fulfil our daily responsibilities (Ps 23:5).

Surely then, we can like David affirm that our future looks good. We might be in the green pastures, or we might be in the valley of death, but God’s goodness and God’s mercy will always be ready to help us. And then, when it is all over, we shall be with God for all eternity in a way even more perfect than David being at the Temple, or us being with the Church (Ps 23:6).

Is the LORD your shepherd? Do you follow the LORD? Do you trust the LORD? Then you shall not want; then you shall not be lacking; then you shall not be deprived of anything you need for today or any other day (Matt 6:33-34).

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 84:11-12