Prayer & Devotion, Savoring Simple Moments

The Soul Satisfying Shepherd


Psalm 23 is probably the most famous psalm today, known by people of different religions and beliefs. It is quoted on countless greeting cards and has been a source of comfort and hope, especially for those in affliction. The entire psalm is so rich with truth, but most people probably only know the first verse by heart without expending any effort at memorizing it. My husband has been teaching this psalm at our home bible study, and it has truly been refreshing to our souls. I have found myself repeating to myself throughout the day the things we have learned, and meditating on just the first few verses of this psalm has helped me to fight my daily spiritual battles. I had asked him if I could post what he has taught so far, so that you, too, may be encouraged. (His teaching notes are in an outline format, so here is my attempt at transferring those notes into a more readable blog post. I guess you could say this is a collaborative effort, but he certainly did the sweat work.)

Psalm 23 is a song of trust and confidence in God, directing us to His faithfulness so that we might experience the joy of trusting Him, even in times of dark despair. Charles Spurgeon called it “the pearl of psalms.” And what a precious find it is for those digging for the treasure of God’s Word!

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (v.1)

This one verse can stand alone as a source of comfort. This is actually the main idea of the whole psalm. After a closer look at this beloved psalm, we can better understand how David could confidently sing this out. David has a clear understanding of who God is, “the Lord”. Most would overlook these very important first two words, but The Lord is the reason why David has penned this psalm in the first place. The word “Lord” is the English translation of the great Old Testament name for God, “YHWH”; it is God’s personal name. This name reveals that God is the eternally existent One, who always was, is, and shall be the same throughout eternity. Therefore, it speaks of God’s attributes, namely, His self-existence and His independence.

Let us not forget or think lightly of the fact that The Lord is the Creator of all that exists, and He, Himself, has no beginning or end. He is the only uncreated being. Rightly do we call him the eternal One. Furthermore, He does not need anything nor depend on anyone. He does not need wisdom, power, help, or even worship. And, he certainly does not need us. He is self-sufficient. You could spend a lifetime thinking about who God is and meditating on each of His attributes. This would be a beneficial task for us to undertake because how you view God and experience Him will affect how your heart responds to everything in life, including your trials. [My personal response: This hit me like a lightning bolt. I realized that my knowing God will have a direct effect on my living for Him. Take parenting, for example. Oh how I desire to be a better mother to my children! I am well aware of my many failures in this. If I meditated more on who God is, I will see the perfect example of a loving and gracious Father, even during times when He disciplines His children who have disobeyed. This will happen in all other areas of my life. If I see more of God, I will see more of God in my life.]

20140125-235430.jpgThis Self-existent, Self-sufficient, amazing Lord is the one who David calls “my shepherd.” There are countless numbers who have found comfort and calm in the midst of their storms through this psalm, but how many of them truly know The Lord as their Shepherd? For David, this was a deeply personal relationship, not merely a religion: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Even Jesus Christ warned that not everyone, even those who call Him “Lord”, is truly of His fold. In fact, He said, “You do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:26-27)

Having realized this amazing truth, David comes to a very simple and profound conclusion about his life: “I shall not want.” In this case, the better translation for this phrase is in the NIV, “I shall lack nothing.” In other words, I am content. I am satisfied. Psalm 73:25 conveys this same thought, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

The God, who created all things and has always existed, who has no need for man at all, is also David’s personal Shepherd. It is obvious from the first verse alone that David is completely and perfectly satisfied in The Lord. Are you?


(Photo credit 1: blathlean)
(Photo credit 2: Wikimedia Commons)

22 thoughts on “The Soul Satisfying Shepherd”

  1. This is a wonderful intro to Psalm 23. There is so much wisdom in that short chapter that you could study each sentence and word and find a treasure in each, and maybe see something new each time you read it. That’s what I find amazing in God’s Word, it just lights up and teaches you something new, even from verses you’ve read a hundred times. Awesome!

    1. My husband discovered that as he began the study on this psalm. Each night our bible study meets, he’s only able to cover one verse at a time because there is so much to learn. It may be a while before we get to the end of this psalm, but I don’t think anyone minds. 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  2. When I think of God, I think of Him as Father and Husband mostly. It’s good to be reminded that “the LORD is my Shepherd”, too. It warms my heart to know you and your husband collaborate and partner together.

    I also read this quote by a Christian counselor and speaker, ““People treat God the same way they treat others—that observation will carry you a long way in counseling.” It fits with, “…how you view God and experience Him will affect how your heart responds to everything in life, including your trials.” Thank you!

  3. I too love that first verse. So encouraging. I remember about 10 years ago, a friend gave me a gift book by Max Lucado. I think it was called ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ and it went verse by verse through Psalm 23 and really broke it down into life-application meaning. It had a huge influence on my life at the time.

    1. Thank you, Esther. I plan to do another post on the next two verses. My hubby is going through this psalm at our bible study pretty slowly … there is so much to chew on in each verse! We are definitely feasting!

  4. What a wonderful insight on the Lord, that He alone is self-sufficient (I can’t help sniping at our vainglorious and futile attempts at this)! Truly He is worthy of all our praise, and even here I praise Him.

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