I Shall Not Want
Mrs. Marion Shields fellowships at Richvale Bible Chapel in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The mother of four sons, she serves the Lord in many ways both in her home assembly and as a speaker at various ladies meetings. She is also the sister of our “Food for the Flock” treasurer, Mr. William Hamilton.
This is Mrs. Shields first article to appear in the magazine.
In the most beautiful and well-known psalm of David, the 23rd, David is reinforcing his personal knowledge of God. He says, “THE” Lord is my shepherd. Many of the heathen nations surrounding the children of Israel worshipped other gods, but David had a relationship with God—Jehovah—The Great “I Am,” the creator, sustainer, and upholder of all things. As a result of this knowledge, he could say with confidence—I shall not want. Since this great God Jehovah, who is Lord of all, who is the all-wise, all-powerful, self-existing and self-sufficient One is MY Shepherd, how can I possibly want for anything that He cannot provide? In the verses following, David goes on to list some of the things for which I shall not want. First, I SHALL NOT WANT for REST.
Today, we live in the power and knowledge of the living Christ in us. We know that there is one God and one mediator between God and men — the man Christ Jesus. In Romans 3:32 we read “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things.” Is there anything that I could possibly want or need that He cannot provide?
Many religions of our modern world worship and seek to appease many gods in various attempts to find rest. God, Jehovah, says “No.” You cannot work or pay your way into a right relationship with me. The work is done. I provided the plan of salvation. I provided the perfect sacrifice. You come as you are —the work is finished. The work is completed through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why are so many homemakers and business girls consumed by anxiety and tension? We came to the Lord Jesus Christ in simplicity when He said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Now, let us all be careful that we do not allow the fast-paced society, the life style of constant running, even the busyness of Christian activity, to rob us of the provision of rest. Like David, I can say, my Shepherd knows me personally and intimately, and He knows that sometimes I need to lie down in green pastures and drink from the still waters, and for this REST and NOURISHMENT — I SHALL NOT WANT.
Let’s further consider David’s personal relationship with Jehovah God, and the things for which he shall not want since this great God is his Shepherd.
He starts out by saying I SHALL NOT WANT for REST and NOURISHMENT since He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leaded me beside the still waters. Not only will I have rest and nourishment that I need, but I SHALL NOT WANT for REFRESHMENT. Many times we hear that the Christian life is boring and dry and just a series of thou-shalt-nots. David says, not so. The opposite is true. There is nothing in this world that will satisfy. We see evidences all around us of society’s insatiable appetite for things and experiences, and nothing satisfies.
Our Shepherd leads beside still waters.
In the part of the world where David was a shepherd, there would be dry seasons when all the creeks and rivers would be dried up completely, and then during the rainy seasons, a dried-up river bed could become a raging torrent. The sheep being rather stupid could run headlong into that rushing stream, and be swept away or just pulled under with the sheer weight of its woollen coat. The shepherd, therefore, would go in and dam up an area with branches and leaves and make a little pocket of calm for the sheep to safely drink.
Our Shepherd provides this still water. When life is like a rushing mighty torrent, when the cares of this world have us so weighted down that we would surely drown, our Shepherd says, “Come apart and rest awhile.”
Jesus Christ said to the woman of Samaria, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
David would understand the significance of the drink offering as it was poured out. We now understand what the Lord Jesus is saying in John 7:37: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
Our great Shepherd-Redeemer not only provides rest and nourishment, but a safe refreshment and satisfaction as we live in this ungodly world.
As we consider the 23rd psalm and all the things for which David says I SHALL NOT WANT because the great God Jehovah who knows all, and controls all, is my personal Shepherd, my favorite has to be — I SHALL NOT WANT for FORGIVENESS — because He restoreth my soul.
Where would the sheep be without a shepherd? They are vulnerable, stupid, and defenceless creatures, and would just wander off aimlessly, getting themselves into all kinds of troubles. They really need a shepherd who will soothe and calm and comfort, as well as lead them. We also need a Shepherd — someone who will protect us and drive off the enemy. Sometimes we are just plain dumb and too gullible for our own good. We must remember that we are living in enemy territory. We are like strangers and pilgrims in a foreign land. Satan has corrupted the morals and dominated the philosophy of the world, and he is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
David says we have such a Shepherd, and we SHALL NOT WANT for FORGIVENESS, because He restoreth my soul. As I get myself all bent out of shape with pride and hurt feelings, I would stumble and wander off. I would blindly follow anyone who sympathized with me. Thank God for a Shepherd who restoreth my soul. He gives gracious forgiveness.
It’s always the responsibility of the shepherd to find the sheep and bring them back, and so it is with my Shepherd. The song says, “The protection of His child and treasure — is a charge which on Himself He lay.” He restoreth my soul. He does it for His Name’s sake, and this is the will of God.
John 6:39 confirms: “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
The security of the believer depends on the Shepherd.
You will notice in the first three verses of Psalm 23 that David is talking about some of the things for which I SHALL NOT WANT because of my Great Shepherd. Now, at verse 4, the emphasis changes. He begins to talk “to” the Shepherd, instead of “about” the Shepherd. This change of attitude comes when he considers the crisis situation of the valley of the shadow of death, and David is grateful that “thou art with me.”
Crisis situations come into all our lives. Situations that are beyond our control and as a result, we feel vulnerable and frightened. As Christians we are not immune to illness. As part of the human race, we can break bones. Christians can hear that dreaded “it’s cancer” and be terrified. Christians face unemployment, family breakup, financial problems, loneliness, bereavement, and all the other emotional and physical hazards of this world. The difference is that in the midst of trials the believer doesn’t go through them alone. I SHALL NOT WANT for COMPANIONSHIP AND COURAGE — for thou art with me. The natural tendency is to cry out for deliverance or help or instant solutions. Instead, David is saying, go on right through this crisis, appreciating the presence of the Lord with me in it, and He will bring me through.
I SHALL NOT WANT for PROVISIONS because He prepareth a table before me. As a shepherd would check out the pasture area, making sure that there were no wild animals lurking, no poisonous snakes or bitter weeds, so my Shepherd provides good things — food convenient for me.
Like the shepherd pouring oil on the head of the sheep, checking them out for cuts and bruises as they come back to the fold, we enter into that peace, and He giveth His beloved sleep.
I SHALL NOT WANT for GREAT BLESSING because my cup runneth over. Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” It keeps getting better and better. We are sandwiched between goodness and mercy —goodness providing so many good things which we do not deserve, and mercy withholding what we do. Surely His goodness should drive us to repentance, as we consider the promise that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.