The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
I was reading over Psalm 23 this morning… it’s familiar. I memorized it when I was small.
I know that its good to know scripture – at the same time, I have found that I have to make sure not to just know it in my head but to also let it sink to my heart.
There’s a difference.
If it’s in my head, I can recall it, remember it, think about it. And then when I’m done & off to the next thought, the Scripture goes back into the file in my head & is put away in its virtual filing cabinet until the next time I come across it.
If it’s in my heart, I live it. It affects me at the deepest level of my being. It becomes like a handy-dandy smart phone app, perhaps invisible but still actively running below the surface, having a definite influence.
Back to Psalm 23 – The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
David wrote it – he got it at a gut level – he had been a shepherd, & he knew intimately of the similarities between what he had done, & what God did with him on a daily basis. So David’s declaration of The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want, is a faith statement – rooted in thankfulness – contentment. There was nothing that God had not, did not, would not make sure that David would get if he was in need. And from his self-assessment, he wasn’t lacking anything.
This hit me hard. The LORD is MY shepherd. He is the One who cares & provides for, protects, directs, instructs, heals, & feeds – ME. But when I read the second part after the ; the I shall not want, I realized there were/are areas in me where the ugly stuff resides – rather that being able to see where God is shepherding me well, & that I am not in lack, want, or need – instead, my soul is striving; discontent; frustrated; needy; ungrateful; blind to God’s faithful & miraculous care for me.
Ouch. All that, revealed in a moment.
I know Psalm 23. But is it in my heart today? I repent. Reorient. Return. Ask my shepherd to pick the thorns & stickers from my soul.
Right now I intentionally choose thankfulness. Contentment. Gratefulness. Awareness of God’s work in & around me & mine.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. And I mean it.
PS – If you haven’t already, check out Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine – her investigative exploration of a real life shepherd, bee keeper, and vintner (wine maker) offer profound insights into three of the more prominent images/metaphors used in Scripture. The book (and the stories contained within) have transformed my understanding of some very familiar Scripture. You can also watch Margaret HERE presenting on the topic at the 2012 Foursquare Convention a few weeks back.
In regards to reading and not really digesting, my favorite word in the scriptures is Selah. Every time I see that word I think, these people knew. They knew that we human beings who have heard this portion of scripture before might just skip over something very big, very important. Very Selah-worthy. I love this break down and I will put Margaret’s book on my very long list, that grows pretty much every time I talk to you ;)