referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…
We live in an era of prosperity preachers. The abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10 has been translated to financial wealth. Even the blessings of Abraham connotes money to some. And while financial wealth is included in this scripture below, I want to take a broader lens to it.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23: 1 NIV
What I hear God say to me when I read this is, “I am your sufficiency, in Me you have everything and so you lack for nothing!” This means if God is my shepherd then at any point in time, regardless of what the circumstances appear to be, I have ALL I need. Wow…that’s deep!
As my Shepherd, God makes sure that in every circumstance I have all I need to be complete (And you have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:10 Berean Study Bible). So when I wake up in the morning my Shepherd makes sure I have the strength and health I need to face the day ahead; so I lack nothing. As I put my thoughts together in this blog, my Shepherd ensures that in this moment I have the wisdom I need; so I lack nothing. When my bank account is nothing to write home about, my Shepherd says of that circumstance, “even though your bank account says otherwise, you have all you need in this moment”.
The shepherd is many step ahead of the sheep. I think of God as a nomadic shepherd. He journeys through life’s seasons with His sheep promising never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). During the dry seasons, even though the sheep appear to be going through the drought, in reality, the shepherd is always leading them out of the drought to greener pasture (Psalm 23:2).
His assurance is that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3). With God as our shepherd, we lack nothing at every given moment in time. Armed with this truth, contentment should come more easily and readily to us. Contentment does not mean we do not pray for more stuff or a better status quo. Contentment means:
Instead of always praying that God changes our circumstances, we pray that God helps us find opportunities in those circumstances.
Abraham was once on a mission at God’s command to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22). He could have prayed to God to relieve him of the mission. He could have negotiated with God to spare his son’s life (he had done it before for his nephew Lot). Instead Abraham found opportunity in his circumstance to prove God as a provider. With knowledge of God as his shepherd, Abraham said to his son, “God will provide for Himself a lamb for the sacrifice”. This confession meant that even though Abraham did not have a lamb for the sacrifice in that moment, he knew without a shadow of doubt that in God he had everything he needed. We know how the story ends (and if you don’t, dare to read Genesis 22). That day, Abraham discovered God in a new light. For the very first time in the history of man, a new name for God was birthed on that mountain: Jehovah Jireh, ‘The Lord will Provide’ (Genesis 22:14).
As we study through Psalm 23, I do not take for granted and will continue to emphasize the preamble: the Lord is my shepherd. What prosperity preachers don’t tell you is that you need a relationship with the shepherd before you can claim the benefits. Is the Lord your shepherd? Then and only then can you say with confidence, “I shall not want!”
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