I Shall Not Want

How often do we feel so secure in our world, there is nothing that we want?

The 23rd Psalm, attributed to King David, begins with the words: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1 NRSV

Biblical translations variously phrase those last words to read:

“There is nothing I lack.” NAB
“I lack nothing.” NIV-UK
“I will never be in need.” CEV
“I Am Never in Need.” GW
“I have everything I need.” GN
“I don’t need a thing.” MSG

The psalmist must have been in a really good place, the day this psalm was composed. While there are days when our lives are so full, we look around at what we have and realize there is nothing that we could possibly want . . . well there are the other days too.

On the other days our  wants can be as varied as finding a parking spot, to wanting cures for diseases that plague ourselves or loved ones, to a political upheaval that puts our favored candidates in office. Our wants can be a driving force for good or create a world of discontent inside us.

I suspect the psalmist was reflecting on the reality of God’s continuing presence in his life, when he wrote, “I shall not want.”  Content  in the care of the shepherd, secure in that place and time, there was nothing more needed in his life.  He trusted  that whatever the future would bring,  the  shepherd  he had come to know and love,  would be with him in the challenges. With the Lord as his shepherd, he could rest in peace.

Psalm 23 Contemporary English Version

You, Lord, are my shepherd.
I will never be in need.
You let me rest in fields
of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name,
and you lead me
along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherd’s rod
makes me feel safe.

You treat me to a feast,
while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest,
and you fill my cup
until it overflows.
Your kindness and love
will always be with me
each day of my life,
and I will live forever
in your house, Lord. CEV