The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
These words have been running around in my brain and in my heart since Sunday morning. Our fall retreat speaker, David Taylor, suggested that these 9 words, this single verse, represents the whole gospel in the book of Psalms and even the whole Gospel in the entire Old Testament. What an encouraging statement!
The God of the universe, the Lord, is personally available to us. For you cannot be a shepherd at a distance. A far-away shepherd is a contradiction in terms. Shepherds are by definition, close. The Lord, that close-by guy, is MY shepherd… so I have no wants. I am taken care of and satisfied. With abundance.
This was David Taylor’s description of what the psalmist, David, meant in verse 1. It was so vivid and so compelling for what we need in a time of vicious anxiety and uncertainty.
David Taylor went deeper into our soul as he asked, ‘What does it really mean to pray this prayer?’ These are the questions we are praying as we come to this psalm for answers:
Q: Can I trust you?
A: He’s the Lord. His character is unchanging and His power is unlimited and His love is available.
Q: Will you take care of me?
A: He is a close-by shepherd, who stands between us and our enemies, who provides nourishment, who brings joy.
Q: Am I going to be ok?
A. I shall not want. ‘I don’t need a thing!’ (The Message). I will be satisfied and fulfilled.
Those three questions are the essence of what every human is asking: you, me, your neighbor, your cranky family member, the person at your Alpha table, your children… Everyone is asking these.
If we say no to any of them, we will look for counterfeits and surrogates. We will search high and low for something we can trust, that will take care of us, that will make us feel ok.
Psalm 23 is the antidote to that wandering search. Psalm 23 is God’s answer to our most present questions:
The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.
You can hear all of David’s Sunday sermon on Psalm 23, here.
On our YouTube Channel, we have the full sessions from Friday night and Saturday morning. I am attaching the handouts for these sessions to this email. David created them to help us write our own psalms of praise and lament. That exercise was powerful and the opportunity to share it with others was a great gift. I hope you will take some time to write a psalm and consider sharing it with someone in your small group this week!
Would you take a few moments to fill out our fall retreat survey-– even if you didn’t attend? We are sending it to everyone in the church because your feedback will help us plan next year’s retreat. This annual event is such a critical part of our life together and we want it to work well for as many people as possible. So please take a few minutes to let us know your retreat feedback and how the retreat aligned with your household’s October plans.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me. Surely.
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord. Forever.
See you on Sunday,