Not only is our Shepherd’s provision personal, it is complete – “I shall not want…” Literally, this phrase means, “I will never be wanting anything” or “I will lack nothing.” At first this catches your attention, because there are some things you may want. You may want a Porsche, you may want a million dollars, you may want a short sermon on Sunday – but you probably don’t have those things. So how can the psalmist say, “Since Yahweh is my Shepherd I won’t be wanting anything”?
For clarification, perhaps we should look at Ps. 34:9-10: “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Did you catch that clarification—“have no lack… lack no good thing”?
We may lack a great many things following the Shepherd, but we will never lack anything the Shepherd thinks is good for us. We may not have hot cars, huge homes, or luxury vacations, but we will never lack anything good! As we think about the upcoming months of preparation to plant the church in Salt Lake City, we will have no lack. We will have all that is good for us! Ps. 84:11-12, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
When we were married in 2000, we packed up our ’88 Mitsubishi Galante and drove out to Maryland to become an assistant at my dad’s church. Anchor Baptist gave us an excellent salary. But seminary costs a lot of money… and babies cost a lot of money…rent in the Annapolis/Baltimore area costs an excruciating amount of money…We had to simply pray and trust and work hard when the numbers didn’t add up. I graduated in 2004 and moved the family to Wichita Falls to pastor Messiah Baptist Church (now Wichita Falls Baptist). The church had enough money saved to support me full time, including expected tithes, for 17 months. Of the 9 tithing units, 4 were military families scheduled to PCS (move) or retire within 2 -3 years. So, we were placed in a situation that had a very possible expiration date, as far as finances were concerned. Instead of playing it safe, we bought a house immediately, believing God had led us and trusting He would provide. Within a year, all my school debt was paid, I started a doctoral program, and the church was growing. 7 years later, even with all the turnover of military families (only 1 family remained from the original group and many military members have come and gone), the church is established and stable, our family has been more than sustained, the church has made approximately $100,000 in building improvements…Talk about complete provision! Our Shepherd provides completely.
Our Shepherd’s provision is also securing (v. 2). Picture it: the sheep lie down, literally stretch out without worry in green pastures (nesting spots) and recline next to quiet waters. The sheep have eaten and are satisfied and can rest, having no need to move on. They don’t have to worry about their next meal; the shepherd has taken them to a place where they can lie down on it. When we stop to remember who God is and the works He has already done in our lives, we know we have been the secure sheep…we know we will continue to be.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future” – it is secure in the hands of the Shepherd – so we can be at rest, the sheep can be at ease. As for all the families in transition with Plant4theGospel, we do not have to feel afraid during this next phase of our journey. We can be at rest because we are secure in the provision of the Good Shepherd.
Today, consider how the Shepherd’s provision has been personal, complete, and securing in your own life. And come back tomorrow to read about the refreshing nature of our Shepherd’s provision.