Psalm 23:1-6 AMP
1 THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me]. I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; by [brimming] cut runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
This Psalm is one of my favorites because it speaks of God’s never-ending love for His people using the illustration of how a Shepherd cares for his sheep. The Shepherd’s job is to provide for every need of the sheep. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, when He died on the cross for us, provided for our every need. He feeds, guides and shields us so that we suffer no lack. The provision has been made through the blood of Jesus for us to have complete restoration to the way life was back in the Garden of Eden. The spiritual life that we live as children of God provides for our well-being spirit, soul and body. Jesus died for the whole person, not just for us spiritually.
As sheep, we often go through life being led by every circumstance and experience that comes along. We sometimes don’t look to the Shepherd for protection, provision and preservation. We seem to be distanced from Him. That is not the life that our heavenly Father wants us to live. He wants us to be vitally connected to Him through a living relationship with Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. When we begin to look to the Lord for every need that we have we find His presence, His protection, His provision and His preservation.
His Presence – His closeness is ever with us. The Shepherd stayed with the sheep. He lived in the pasture with them. Jesus came as a human being and dwelt among men. He lived with us; He died among us to pay the price for our freedom. Jesus lives within His children. His presence is ever with us.
John 1:14,-16 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
His protection – “Yes, though I walk through the [deep sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” I like the way Joyce Meyer explains this verse: “Remember, where there is a shadow, there must be light—and the Light of the world, Jesus, has promised to be with you always.”
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
His provision – “THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me]. I shall not lack.”
Lack – Hebrew word haser – means to lack; to have nothing; to go down, recede; to make lower; to deprive; to cause to lack, withhold.
Jesus, as our Shepherd has provided for us in such a way that we will suffer no lack; we will never be at a state of not having anything, or being deprived of what we need. He is not withholding from us, but instead, has made provision for us. Sometimes God gets blamed for our lack when the blame should be placed on the wolf who comes to try to steal the little ones from the sheepfold.
John chapter 10 speaks so lovingly of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Jesus describes Himself as the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep in John 10:11. He goes on to say in John 10:14, 15:
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
Jesus laid down His life for us so that we would suffer no lack. His provision is far-reaching from saving our souls, restoring our spirits, and providing for our needs. He is the GOOD Shepherd who provides for His own.
John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The thief (the wolf) comes to steal, kill and destroy the sheep’s life. But Jesus came to give life abundantly.
Abundantly – Greek word perissos – means superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
Can you imagine that type of life; one of superabundance, excess and overflowing surplus? That’s the life that Jesus died that you and I might experience. When we face opposition to that type of life we can know that it is because the thief is trying to steal from us. He comes to destroy us by whatever means he can. Sometimes He steals through our finances by blinding us to proper financial management. We sometimes cooperate with his tactics to steal from us by overspending, not tithing and giving offerings, and not properly managing the resources that God has provided for us. God gives us choices to either walk in His provision or try to do it on our own. In our desire to be in control we sometimes step out of God’s perfect will for our lives by the choices that we make. The result is lack.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Preservation – “He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.” He leads us in uprightness and right standing with Him, not through our trying to earn it, but for His name’s sake. That’s powerful. When we come to the understanding that we are saved by HIS grace and not our works we can live a life of freedom! Jesus paid the price in full; there is nothing for us to do, but receive it! Our salvation, our preservation, was given by God’s grace and received through our faith.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
You can’t earn your salvation, you can only receive it. When you receive it you are placed “in Him”, “in Christ Jesus”, safe in the Father’s hands.
Friends, God loves you with an everlasting love. His provision is complete; His presence is never-ending; His protection is always around you and His preservation restores your soul. The work of the “Good Shepherd” has provided for every need of the sheep; we shall not lack.
Father, I thank You for providing for every need that Your children have. I thank You that we suffer no lack! You have thought of and covered everything! Thank You, Father, for the total provision that protects, provides and preserves us. Thank You for giving Jesus to die for our sins and to restore us back to You. Lord Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life for us. No one took Your life from You but You willingly laid it down that we might experience life abundantly. Thank You, Lord! And thank You for placing Your Spirit within us to lead and guide us; and to give us the fellowship that we need to have that living and vital relationship with You. You are our God; there is NONE above You or beside You. Thank You for being our Savior!
Father I pray this morning for those who might not know Jesus as their Savior. I pray that you will open the blinded eyes and pull down the veil that has been placed over their minds by the evil one so that they can see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and be drawn into the family through believing in their heart that He died for them and confessing Him as their Lord. Do a saving work in them, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.