"The Lord is my shepherd--I have everything I need." Psalm 23:1
"The Lord is my shepherd!" What condescension is this, that the Infinite Lord assumes the office and character of a Shepherd towards His people! It should be the subject of grateful admiration, that the great God allows Himself to be compared to anything which will set forth His great love and care for His own people!
David had himself been a keeper of sheep, and understood both the needs of the sheep and the many cares of a shepherd. He compares himself to a weak, defenseless and foolish creature, and he takes God to be his Provider, Preserver, Director, and, indeed, his everything!
No man has a right to consider himself the Lord's sheep unless his nature has been renewed; for the Scriptural description of unconverted men does not picture them as sheep, but as wolves or goats! A sheep is personal property, not a wild animal. Its owner sets great value on it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did, that we belong to the Lord!
There is a noble tone of confidence in this sentence. There is no "if", nor "but", nor even an "I hope so". David says, "The Lord IS my shepherd." We must cultivate the spirit of assured dependence upon our heavenly Father.
The sweetest word of the whole verse is that monosyllable, "MY". He does not say, "The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large," but "The Lord is MY shepherd!" He is a MY Shepherd to no one else--He cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me! The words are in the present tense. Whatever the believer's situation, he is constantly under the pastoral care of Jehovah Himself!
The next words are an encouraging inference from the first statement, "I have everything I need." I might lack otherwise, but when the Lord is my Shepherd, He is able to supply my needs and is certainly willing to do so, for His heart is full of love towards His people!
I shall not lack for temporal things. Does He not feed the ravens, and cause the lilies to grow? How, then, can He leave His children to starve?
I shall not lack for spiritual things, I know that His grace will be sufficient for all my needs. Resting in Him, He will say to me, "As your days--so shall your strength be!"
I may not possess all that I wish for, but "I have everything I need." Others, far wealthier and wiser than I, may lack, but "I have everything I need." "The young lions may lack, and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."
Come what may, if famine should devastate the land, or calamity destroy the city, "I have everything I need!" Old age with its feebleness shall not bring me any lack; and even death with its gloom shall not find me destitute. I shall have all good things and abound, not because I have a large store of money in the bank, nor because I have skill and wit to sustain myself, but because "The Lord is my shepherd!"
The wicked always lack but the righteous never! An unsaved person's heart is far from satisfaction, but a gracious heart dwells in the "palace of contentment!"
- C. H. Spurgeon