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Psalm. 23 is probably one of the most well known and memorized Psalms of all and perhaps the least understood and practiced. We are inclined to think of it regarding death because it is so often used at funerals and memorial services. Yet it is truly a Psalm for the living and not for the dead.

In the 1st verse: The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want, we find the core, climax and result of the entire Psalm.

IF the LORD is my Shepherd, then I can claim the remainder of the promise….I shall not want. We often insist on the last part without understanding the need of the first.

Let’s take a look at what is required of a Shepherd.

A shepherd is responsible day and night for the safety and provision of the sheep under his care. He leads in green pastures for food, by still waters to drink. He cares for their protection when passing through dangerous valleys in the shadow of death. Notice “shadow of death”, not death. He carries a rod to combat predators, and a staff to bring those back who have strayed away. He knows each one by name.

Tony Evans in his book God is More than Enough, says, “There is not a single need you could possibly have that isn’t addressed by the words of Psalm 23.” He also says, “Beautiful as it is, this psalm is an attack….because of our deprived lack of trust in God and the sin of self sufficiency. This results in the trauma of insecurity that’s brought on by our doubts and disbelief.” Often, God is the last one on whom we call for help, which leaves us unable to handle the ups and downs of our life.

David, who fully understood the needs of his sheep said, “The LORD is MY Shepherd…I shall not want.” We have the promise that whatever our need, God is near to guide and comfort. Lord, help us to claim the promises of Psalm 23 in their entirety and experience the peace, joy and satisfying results.

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