The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
This is probably one of the most recognized scriptures in the Bible. We hear it often at funerals because it is comforting. But have you ever taken the time to break down exactly what David is saying? We memorize it as children, we recite it at public gatherings and it sounds great – it is! But what is it actually saying? I mean, how is Jesus being a shepherd going to help you? Do you ever want? Sure – we all do. And why does He set a table for us in front of our enemies – couldn’t we just go somewhere in peace? LOL
I am a huge fan of the saying “You gotta read the Bible to READ the Bible!” I mean, as you grow in the things of the Lord, you realize that although the Word of God is full of over 7000 promises, unless you employ them and exercise your faith they won’t do you much good.
Here is an example I heard years ago: A man dies and leaves millions of dollars in his estate. However, his heirs never bothered to read the Will so they lived in poverty and in lack when they could have lived like a king…. are you seeing the parallel?
Jesus didn’t just die for our eternal salvation – although that would have been more than enough! He died for our complete and total restoration in this life AND salvation in the next. What an awesome God!
So let’s get back to Psalm 23. It is a lovely, poetic Psalm, and we have now established, that in order to partake of the goodness of this Psalm, we need to employ it. How do we do this? We read it, meditate on it and release our faith – especially when we see things that are contrary to it! This is what we must do with all of the promises in the Bible. We must put them to use and get them down in our heart. Joshua 1:8 tells us to meditate on the word day and night and in this way we will have good success!
So, let’s break this scripture down and see exactly what King David is saying in this particular scripture. (Note: the meanings that I will give all come from the Strong’s Concordance of Greek and Hebrew)
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Shepherd there means an actual shepherd – yes because we are often referred to as sheep. It also means companion, special friend and one who tends.
I shall not want. The word want means, lack, decrease, or diminish. I don’t know about you, but I want no part of lack, decrease and diminishing and that is the exact opposite of what God wants for all of us. So, I say we break ties with lack, decrease and diminishing now. How? The words of your mouth is a good place to start. Declare out loud: I break all agreements with lack, decrease and diminishing in Jesus’ Name! Then guard your words from here on out. Whenever you see a situation that looks like decrease remind yourself (and the enemy) you have broken those ties. Release your faith and exercise your rights as a believer!
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; – he leads with care, guides to place of rest, refreshing
He leads me beside the still waters. This meant just that – and still waters are peaceful!
He restores my soul; He restores my soul, myself, my life, my appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion and activity of mind
He leads me in the paths of righteousness He leads me into what is right or just or normal, into righteousness (as vindicated), He leads me into justification (where controversy is concerned), He leads me into deliverance, victory, prosperity, and a covenant enjoying salvation!
For His name’s sake. – His glory
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
the valley of death, darkness, distress and danger
I will fear no evil; I will fear nothing disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant, no unhappiness, pain or misery, any bad land, water, bad value, a worse than worst comparison, I will fear no sadness, no viciousness in disposition, no evil in ethics, wicked, or evil thoughts or persons, deeds or actions, no injury, or calamity
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Rod also means “mark of authority” and staff also means “support of every kind” (Note also that the rod is a symbol of covenant and power. When two people made covenant, they would often exchange personal items and the rod of a shepherd was often unique to them. If you had HIS rod, it meant to every enemy that came at you – YOU WERE MARKED WITH HIS AUTHORITY – in other words – you could speak for Him and if you went into battle, the owner of that rod, that mark would go with you and you were not alone!)
You prepare a table before me You set in order, furnishes, and arranges – a king’s table for private use and sacred use – for me
in the presence of my enemies; – In places where I am bound, in a narrow place, when I am in distress, besieged, when hostility is towards me, when I am being treated with enmity, being vexed or harassed.
You anoint my head with oil; – to make me prosperous, acceptable
My cup runs over. – I am saturated
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; – GOODNESS – pleasant to the senses, pleasant to the higher nature, good, excellent, valuable, glad, happy, prosperous of man’s nature and good understanding of our intellect, good, right and ethical and MERCY – goodness, kindness, faithfulness shall follow me – to be behind me, follow after me, run after and pursue me – How is this for a REAR GUARD? (Isaiah 52:12)
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Folks, notice when we are distressed, in a narrow place (anything have you up against a wall?) When we are besieged (perhaps with reports of illness, or financial issues – relationship problems, when there is hostility towards us or we are being harassed – THIS is when He sets a King’s table before us – right in the middle of all the chaos. Why? Well, I have a couple of thoughts on that. I believe He is always demonstrating His authority and power. He doesn’t have to wait til the storm passes, He will bless in the midst of the storm! And another – God can’t just give us everything at the beginning. If He did we would be spoiled, we would not have faith and we would actually be pretty weak. A blessing in the midst of our enemies says brings refreshing, encouragement, and hope! It also says to the devil – ha ha! My God is greater than anything you can throw my way! You can’t stop this blessing and you won’t stop my breakthrough. It says He never leaves us and that He sees right where we are.
Are you in the middle of a battle today? Go sit at the King’s table – eat of His goodness. The table is ALWAYS set! He’s serving extravagant portions of hope, increase, faith, love and peace. How do we partake? EATING the Word of God! Whatever “weapon” the enemy is throwing at you currently, find scriptures to combat what he is throwing at you and then for dessert, worship and honor Him. Honoring God will always bring blessing. ALWAYS.
Let’s read Psalm 23 – with the in-depth meanings –
The Lord is my Shepherd, my companion, my special friend who tends to me, I shall not want, decrease, diminish or lack anything. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; guiding me with care to places of rest and refreshing. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; myself, my life, my appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion and activity of mind. He leads me in the paths of righteousness – into what is right or just or normal, into righteousness and vindication, into justification (where controversy is concerned), into deliverance, victory, prosperity, and a covenant enjoying salvation For His name’s sake – for His glory. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, darkness, distress or danger, I will fear no evil; I will fear nothing disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant, no unhappiness, pain or misery, no bad land, water, bad value, a worse than worst comparison, I will fear no sadness, no viciousness in disposition, no evil in ethics, wicked, or evil thoughts or persons, deeds or actions, no injury, or calamity For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me for You have placed on me Your mark of authority and I have all the support I need! Because I am in covenant with You, anyone enemy that dares to come against me will also be coming against You. I am not alone! You prepare a table before me – You set in order, furnish, and arrange – a king’s table for private use and sacred use – for me in the presence of my enemies; – In places where I am bound, in narrow places that are uncomfortable, and also when I am in distress, besieged, or when hostility is towards me, and when I am being treated with enmity, being vexed or harassed. You anoint my head with oil; – You make me prosperous. My cup runs over – I am saturated. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; – goodness, excellence, value, gladness, happiness, prosperity, understanding, ethically good, AND mercy, kindness and faithfulness – they all follow me pursue and run after me all my days! And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
This encourages me greatly. No matter what we face, no matter what the enemy throws our way, we have His mark of authority. We are in covenant with Him. He’s got our back! He will even bless and refresh us in the middle of the battle. And if He will do that, you know He will get us through to victory! What a mighty God we serve!
This article was written by Kelita Deems