For more help use this Bible Study method
A Bold Declaration and its Heart Changing Impact
by Mary Alice McGinnis
As you read Psalm 23 today, what memories popped into your mind? Did it remind you of a specific time in your life? A moment when you needed comfort, guidance, or peace? I am guessing most people could recite the first verse of this beloved Psalm from memory without much trouble. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 Let’s take a deeper look at these first 8 words that come from the pen of King David, who draws on the imagery of his earlier life as a lowly shepherd. First, David makes a bold declaration – “The Lord is my Shepherd.” “The Lord. . . .” It might be easy to overlook the significance of these first 2 words. Notice it was not “A Lord”, but “The LORD.” From the original language the word was “Jehovah” - the proper name of God. Translators often spell it out in all capital letters. Whenever we see this capitalized word in the Old Testament it signifies the name of the one and only true God. This was the same God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush, and called Himself “Yahweh” - “I Am who I Am.” “is my. . . .” David sees himself in a close relationship with “The LORD.” David thinks of how he once tenderly cared for his sheep. They belonged to him. He knew them intimately, calling each of them by name. They knew his voice. God, the Lord is not some distant far-off God who cares little. He knows me personally and is actively at work in my life.
“Shepherd . . .” Sheep are vulnerable, needy creatures, susceptible to wandering off and in constant need of protection. David recognizes God as his loving Shepherd who tenderly cares for him. Despite his position as King, David eagerly admits his NEED to come under the care of God. He declares his need for his Shepherd and trusts in Him to daily guide him, lead him, and protect him.
“I lack nothing.”
Knowing God’s shepherd-like care leaves a two-fold impact on David’s heart.
With God as his Good Shepherd, he confidently trusts – “I will never lack anything that I need.”
David decides not to desire more than what his Good Shepherd decides to give. He settles his heart on trusting that God has, is and always will satisfy the deepest longing of his heart.
What needs are feeling unfulfilled in your life right now? What would it look like to declare Jesus as your Good Shepherd?
How might He be intimately calling you by name right now?
What impact might it have to lean into trusting Your Good Shepherd, even in the most difficult places of your life?
Where is He leading you to give up your self-sufficiency and come under His care?
Cup Prayer – Begin with your hands folded together like an upside-down cup.
Say, “The LORD is my Shepherd.”
Flip your hands over and declare, “I lack nothing.”
Pour out before God all your fears, anxieties, guilt, sin, and shame. Tell Him what troubles you. Take time to be specific.
When you feel like you’ve poured out your heart, flip your hands over, folding them like an open cup, ready to receive from God. Lean into trusting Him to supply all your needs.
Sit in silence, asking God simply to fill you with His Spirit. If your mind runs back to sin, shame, anxiety, or concerns of the day, flip your hands back over and pour it out to the Lord once again.
Rest securely in the loving arms of your Good Shepherd today.