“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
How often have you heard these words quoted at a funeral or read them somewhere in a Bible? But have you given any thought to these?
Let’s just look at each of these words individually:
- THE – – speaks of restriction. It is restricted to that particular one. That, grammatically, is one of the main functions of the definite article – – to specify and/or identify. He, then, is the One and only!
- LORD – – speaks of ruler. This 4-letter word in Hebrew or English (a.k.a. a tetragrammaton) speaks of the One who is the ever-living and self-sustaining God. He is the One who eternally is and sustains a relationship with His people. He is the eternal Ruler of this universe and its inhabitants!
- IS – – speaks of reality. David, the writer, himself a shepherd, does not say “maybe is,” “I hope is,” or “perhaps is” my shepherd. He, God, actually is precisely that – – the One who cares for His sheep! (Read the rest of this Psalm for a description of that care).
- MY – – speaks of relationship. This word is a personal pronoun, with emphasis on personal! There is a personal relationship indicated between David and his LORD God!
- SHEPHERD – – speaks of responsibility. That’s what the LORD did for David. How well David understood this picture, as he himself knew the life of being a shepherd (before he became the greatest king of Israel).
Is the LORD your shepherd? Are you one of His sheep? How can you know? Listen to the words of the great Shepherd in John 10:27-28,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”