I Shall Not Want

February 6, 2020

By Erin Bird

Let's continue the series we started two weeks ago on the most famous Psalm in the Bible - Psalm 23.  This week, I want to look at the second half of verse 1: "I shall not want."When I look at this phrase all by its lonesome, stripped out of its biblical context, I see it as a lie. Because my inner child wants lots of things!

  • I want good food,
  • I want love,
  • I want comfort,
  • I want to watch Netflix,
  • I want a new "toy,"
  • I want to read a book,
  • I want honey in my tea,
  • I want to be warm,
  • I want respect,
  • I want, I want, I want...

Humans are VERY selfish creatures. Whether it's due to an addiction, or loneliness, or envy, or pain, we internally "want" on a regular basis. Even the most un-narcissistic person in the world has moments when he or she "wants" something, even if just for another person.

So what's up with King David? How in the world does he say, "I shall not want?"

I Shall Want... Jesus

To understand David, put the phrase back in context. In the past two weeks, we looked at the phrase "The Lord is my Shepherd." If you are a Jesus-follower, then Christ is to be your life's guide, your inner leader, your object of worship. Just as a sheep finds its comfort and protection in the presence of its shepherd, we are to find our identity and safety within the person of Jesus and His gospel.

And when Jesus is your source of joy, comfort, and contentment, you can truly say "I shall not want." Or another way to say it: "Jesus, you are enough."

  • So when you are struggling with an addiction, pray "Jesus, you are enough."
  • When you are lonely because you aren't married, cry out "God, you are my shepherd. I shall not want."
  • When you are worried about how to pay for that car repair, remind yourself, "Jesus, you are enough."
  • When you are stressed about a project at school, take a deep breath, and exhale "Jesus, I shall not want."

Please note:

  • Praying or reminding yourself "I shall not want" is not a magic formula. It is simply a reminder that Jesus is your shepherd, and in Him, you can find true contentment.
  • Also, praying these words once won't cure your emotional malady. This is a moment-by-moment prayer that reminds you to return emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to your loving Good Shepherd again and again and again.

So today, whenever you find yourself wanting things that you know will not draw your heart to Jesus, simply say a breath prayer of "Jesus, You are enough. I shall not want."

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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