The words of Psalm 23:1 have been a comfort to countless many when facing circumstances beyond their control.
But what does “I shall not want” mean?
Let’s eliminate the obvious. It doesn’t mean we get whatever we want.
Honestly, it also doesn’t mean we will never be in want (or in need of) something. Look at the Apostle Paul. He faced all sorts of terrible situations – shipwrecks, stoning, homelessness, beatings, hunger, and more. Yet in Philippians 4:11, he says, “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (ESV).
Clearly, he had unmet physical needs. Yet, he was not “in want.”
Let’s look at Psalm 23:1 again. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (KJV). The key to understanding this verse lies in the first few words: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
When the Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need. In other words, my Shepherd is all I need.
The holidays can be lonely for many and painful for some who have lost family or friends. It’s hard to feel thankful when our surroundings aren’t merry and bright.
I don’t know what your needs are this Thanksgiving holiday, but the Shepherd knows.
- Is the Lord your Shepherd? If He’s not, then the first step to finding true contentment and peace is knowing Him. To do that, you must admit your need for a Savior and Shepherd, believe that Jesus Christ paid for your sins by His death on the cross, and choose to follow Him.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
– Titus 3:5-7 (NKJV)
- If the Lord is already your Shepherd, commit your cares to Him with the full assurance that He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).
It’s not wrong to want something you don’t have or ask the Lord to provide for you. I ask all the time!
But whether the answer is yes, no, or wait, you and I have to remember that at the end of the day, our Shepherd knows our needs, and He will supply as He sees best. He is our source of blessing, and knowing Him is the richest blessing of all.
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving is that you may know the Shepherd and enjoy the peace and joy of His presence.