The Lord is my shepherd: I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1
David knew what he was writing about when he used the word ‘shepherd’. As a young man, before his surprise selection by Samuel, that was his job. He knew what a tough and demanding task it was to care for sheep in an environment that was constantly hostile.
A shepherd had to stay with his sheep in all weathers, knowing that there were always sheep rustlers and wild animals on the prowl. A shepherd needed to be strong, wise and alert. So in calling God his shepherd, David was saying a great deal about the relationship he had with his Lord.
Many of the descriptions that David used of God were strong and powerful but, ultimately, could seem distant. Calling God a fortress, a high tower or a rock tells us much about the mighty power of God and the security that he gives, but there is little warmth in them.
The use of the term ‘shepherd’ was completely different. David was no doubt recalling his own relationship with his sheep. He knew them intimately. He knew the ones most inclined to wander off, the ones that often got ill and the ones that needed special support. And he knew the relationship he had with almighty God was one of warmth, love and personal care.
The most crucial word in this verse is my. It would have been interesting and significant if he had described the Lord as being like a shepherd, but he went much further than that. David’s testimony was that God was a shepherd to him. He had experienced the Lord’s protection, kindness and guidance.
David did not claim the Lord would give him everything he wanted – God never does. Our wants are often very selfish and potentially destructive. But our loving shepherd gives us everything we need. There could be no greater gift than heading into the future, secure in the knowledge that God will provide perfectly for us.
As you look to the future, what is your reaction to the fact that God will supply everything you need?
Lord God, thank you that you are my shepherd and that you will always give me everything I need to live for you. Amen