People Who Say Such Things: Know God Is Enough

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February 24, 2020

Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

CONSIDER THIS

Did you just do a flyover? You know what I mean. Did you just hit auto-pilot when you saw the famed twenty-third Psalm, consider that you knew it and skipped down to this part of the entry? If so, go back and read it again—out loud, and this time with feeling.

Psalm 23 is one of those texts that can become so familiar that we don’t even see it any more. It gets relegated to funerals, and for most church going people, that’s how they know it. It is the standard bearer of funerals; likely because of that bit in there about the valley of the shadow of death. 

Despite the folder it gets filed in, Psalm 23 is one of the most comprehensive, profound, and prolific texts in all of Scripture. It stunningly captures the nature of a life-long, personal, pilgrimage walk with God. If Psalm 84 is the view of the pilgrim way from the outside looking in, Psalm 23 is the view from the inside out. Over the next six days we will walk our way through the green pastures, still waters, right paths, valley of death, enemy defying, goodness and mercy chasing masterwork of poetic prayer. We will repeat the whole chapter each day, bringing our focus to one of the only six verses. You already know I will challenge you to read aloud to hear, ruminate, rememberize, research, and rehearse the text. We will even sing this one. Before we are done, this will become far more than a death text—it will be a life text. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

People who say such things, and really mean them, know the most important truth in life. 

The Lord is . . . 

The Lord, the God of Heaven and Earth, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Ancient of Days, the Lion of Judah, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all that was and is and ever shall be; this God is, period. But it’s not enough to leave it there. 

The Lord is my . . .

This God is my shepherd. My shepherd. Mine. And Yours. Not ours just yet, because there is no “ours” without their first being a “mine” and a “yours.” Daily Text Nation knows well I am pretty adamant about the second person plural “you” of the Bible; that the relationship with God is personal but never individual. I want to be crystal clear on this matter of pronouns, though. There is no second person plural without first person singular. Unless this God is my God, to say he is “our” God rings hollow as a meaningless claim. But it’s not enough to leave it there. 

The Lord is my shepherd . . .

This claim—my shepherd—translates every doctrine, every creed, every canon, and every orthodox formulation and theological framework ever recorded concerning the Christian faith and brings it into the fold of personal relationship. Not us. Not we. But me, myself, and I—personal, attached, bonded. But it’s not enough to leave it there. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

This shepherd knows me, the real me, the true me, the one behind every lie, the me behind every shaded truth of my true identity, the me behind every need to appear better than I am, every falsehood, mask, unholy attachment, misspent longing, craving for control, and striving manipulation to make my own way, fulfill my own desires, meet my own needs, satisfy my own ambitions, be better than everybody else and build my own kingdom. But it’s not enough to leave it there. 

This Shepherd who knows me—the good and true, the bad and ugly—this Shepherd loves me, wants the best for me, wills to shape my desires and then to fulfill them; delights in me, rejoices, yes, even sings over me. He loves me especially, extravagantly, and eternally. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

This is everything. And because this is everything, I lack nothing.

People who say such things, and increasingly mean them, know the most important truth in life: God is enough. 

Everything in Him is mine. And everything is mine in Him.

Everything in me is his. And everything is his in me. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. It is not enough to know about you and even who you are. I want to know you close, as my Shepherd. I want to know your voice and trust you heart and obey your whisper. Open my mind and heart this week to draw near to you; maybe like never before. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What has been your experience with Psalm 23? Is it part of your life or the occasional funeral remembrance? Do you relate to God as Shepherd? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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