“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” That is the first verse of the 23rd Psalm. When I was a child I thought it meant “I shall not want the Lord as my shepherd.” That didn’t seem to fit with what I thought the Bible was about. Modern translations are more helpful. The Good News translation says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.” As I have grown older I realize how true this verse really is.
As humans, we are driven by many needs. Among them we look for acceptance, security and significance. Many people spend years looking for that special individual or group who will accept them just as they are. We all need to belong somewhere or to someone. If God is our shepherd then we belong to him. Being accepted by others comes second to that. We belong to the Creator, the King of Kings, and the everlasting one. No one else will accept us with such unconditional love. We don’t need to go on searching when we belong to God.
Our need for security is fully covered by God’s care. Even when we walk through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ we can be safe because he watches out for us. In the presence of our enemies he cares for us and gives us good things. He promises to give us his comfort and support. We will never find greater security anywhere else on earth.
In our search for significance we often follow many paths hoping they will bring that sense of fulfillment and importance. God offers to guide us in the right paths and lead us to life everlasting. He anoints us with oil, a symbol of his blessing and desire to use us for his purposes. What could be more significant than that? His goodness and mercy will always be with us. Our lives have meaning because he directs us to what is significant.
We are encouraged to meditate on Scripture and really listen to what God is saying. I know why Psalm 23 is such a beloved passage. Our every need really is met by our Shepherd. We really don’t have to go looking for anything else. Take some time and think about that today. I am sure you’ll feel accepted, secure and significant.