We Lack Nothing

by Phil Enlow

Adapted from a message preached at the Bible Tabernacle on July 24, 2022.

Well, praise the Lord! It’s wonderful that we have Someone we can sing about, Someone upon Whom we can rest our hope, our everything! We are well aware that we live in a scary uncertain world, and people react to it in many different ways. The Lord has allowed us to live where and when we live. What we understand, what we believe, the convictions that live in our hearts have everything to do with how we navigate all of this.

In thinking about this my mind went to several scriptures, but the one I settled on was one that we know very well, and I feel like it’s a good time to take a fresh look at Psalm 23.

David was a young man who grew up in a difficult time. You talk about a crazy world! There’s a certain amount of order even in our world, but at the time he lived it was, in many ways, much worse! Every little kingdom, every little city was pretty much a “criminal gang.” They lived to fight and conquer one another.

In 2 Samuel 11 there is an interesting passing reference to the fact that kings typically went to war in the spring. It was the culture of the day. No doubt, winter was a time of strategizing: who can we conquer? Who has a lot of stuff we can take for ourselves? Where can we get more slaves to make our lives easier? Who’s the strongest, the most important?

Any military battle has its share of tragedy but there were actually battles recorded in scripture where the casualties numbered in the hundreds of thousands! Can you imagine? It was a crazy, challenging time, and it was in this kind of world that David came on the scene.

You know, we had better have something on the inside if we’re going to stand in this world. We had better have a heart level conviction that defines how we see ourselves, how we see the world, and where our hope lies.

The people of this world put their trust in such things as possessions, the pursuit of power, their own abilities. But, in David, we find a young man who didn’t value any of those things. It wasn’t about how smart and how good he was and even how righteous, or any of those things. It had nothing to do with any of that, but it had to do with the simple truth embodied in the first five words of Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd.”

When those five words become the bedrock conviction of our hearts, in a very real sense, it doesn’t matter what else happens. Does anyone here need that? I don’t care who you are, there are things that are fearful in this world, and we need to have an anchor like that described in Hebrews 6:13-20.

That passage speaks of a hope that we have best described as a confident expectation based upon God’s revealed promises about things that haven’t happened yet. And yet, because of the One upon Whose promise we have come to rely, that hope is as sure as if it has already happened.

What does he liken that hope to in that passage? It’s an anchor, isn’t it? A ship needs an anchor under certain circumstances. When the storm is raging, you had better have something that can hold on to something else that doesn’t move. I need that something. How about you? The further we go, the more we need that kind of anchor. Well, David had one.

Of course, it’s interesting that he grew up as a shepherd. He was the youngest of a number of sons, and he got the job – that probably nobody else wanted – of being out there with his father’s sheep. Of course, that job involved long, tedious, tiring hours, but God used that experience to make Himself real and to teach David many important lessons.

Do you know that God can use everything in our lives to teach us if we’ll listen, if we’re tuned in? There’s not a thing that happens in your life or mine that is not a “teachable moment.” You know the expression, “Everything is a teachable moment if we’re willing to be taught.” I need to be taught. Don’t you? The further along I go, the more I need that.

And so, Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.” David knew what that meant. He knew the relationship between a shepherd and sheep, and yet, here, he sees himself not as the shepherd, the strong one that’s doing the job, but as one who needs a shepherd, one who needs someone to watch over him.

So, all of this that the Lord was teaching him through his relationship with literal sheep and having to provide for them, having to protect them, became something through which the Lord revealed important truth to David. David, in effect, heard the Lord saying, “This is the relationship that I desire with you.”

We need to begin by considering the very first word in this Psalm, “The.” It begins, “The Lord ….” For David, there was only one! Remember, David lived in a time when every nation had its gods. I wonder, personally, if a lot of that conflict and warfare between nations was really an ego contest between the many demon gods that were inspiring them. I don’t know, but whereas each nation had its own gods, David knew there was only One true God.

We don’t serve one god among many, each trying to be the greatest. We serve The Lord. There is none other. Thank God! We can look to Him and realize if we’re serving Him, we serve the One Who is on a throne. There is none other. Praise God! Is He the anchor of your soul this moment?

The second word is just as important: “The Lord.” The word “lord” conveys the idea of someone who is in charge. We’re living in a time where God has revealed to us many of His purposes. David, and many other Old Testament saints, knew that wonderful things were coming but were not allowed to see them as we are now that Christ has come. And yet, David knew that, even then, He was in charge and that no one could challenge Him.

In Christ, we know One Who holds the keys of death and the grave. He sits on a throne. All authority in heaven and earth has been given into His hands. Folks, that’s the One that I want to serve! That’s the One that I want to recognize!

At the same time, I don’t want to merely acknowledge this wonderful truth in my mind alone. It has to become something personal, a practical, everyday reality, doesn’t it? That’s why the third word is so important: the word, “is.”

In the first place, the word, “is,” focuses on the present. We are all too prone to trying to live in the past or in the future. We’re living with the baggage of things that have happened, and we haven’t really let go of them. Or we’re afraid of what might happen. And yet, here is David saying, “The Lord is my shepherd.” There is that present tense.

How many of you know that we only have the present? That’s all we have. That’s all I have. There’s not one of us that can go back and fix the past and redo it. We can’t do that. We don’t have a time machine! Nor can we reach into the future and say, “I’m going to determine what happens and everything is going to be okay.” We can’t do any of that.

We occupy a very, very dependent position, but the awesome truth here is that He is my shepherd right now. There is never a time, not a single moment in the life of one who serves the Lord from their heart where He is not present.

Do you remember what David said in Psalm 46:1? He is, “an ever-present help in trouble.” That word, “ever-present,” means something like “relentlessly.” There’s a sense of purpose and urgency on His part that declares, “I’m there! No one can prevent me from being there. I don’t care what it looks like, what it feels like. I’m there.”

And for you and me, does it make a difference if we can learn to reckon on His Presence and know that He meant it when He said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”? (Heb. 13:5). We certainly know that there are many times when it doesn’t feel that way, it doesn’t look that way, but is His promise not the anchor that we need?

Think about it: if I’m doubting this, if I’m doubting what He’s saying right there, that leaves me in a very vulnerable place. I’m going to start listening to the wrong voice. I’m going to start feeling sorry for myself, angry at others, etc.

Of course, I know I’m not the only one who ever experiences those emotions and a whole lot of others that are very, very natural to all of us, but the truth is, in my darkest, weakest moment, and yours, He is. He is. He’s right there. He is absolutely holding my hand.

You think of the sheep that David had to deal with. I’m sure there were all kinds. Some of them were prone to wander, but nonetheless, David felt a sense of responsibility. He knew what that meant. He knew that he was there to be responsible for those sheep, all of them. They may have had their attention drawn here and there, but David was still watching.

You know, I’ve got Somebody like that! You know, you do – the One who spoke the universe into existence. Let that sink in: He’s the One who said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, the One who has planned everything from the beginning.

If you read the prophecies in Isaiah, you will see over and over again where the Lord, through the prophet, mocked those supposed gods. “All right, you tell Me what’s going to happen. You explain it to Me,” or, “I’m the One who has planned everything from the foundation of the world. I foresee everything. I know everything.”

That’s the One in whose hands I want to be. I’m not in the hands of this world. Whatever happens, whatever He allows to happen, He is. He is.

Yet it doesn’t stop there. The Lord is what? What’s the next word? My shepherd. What does that tell us? It has to be personal. This is not just a theological principle. The Lord is good. I believe He’s over-all, etc. There has to be that sense that the One Who created the universe is intimately connected to me. He knows where I’m at. He knows everything about me, and He loves me anyway. He’s my shepherd. I can look to Him. I have every right to look to Him. Praise God! Praise God!

Where are you at today? What’s going on. What’s the enemy putting in your head? He’s trying all kinds of things with me. Anyone here in that same boat? Yeah. He is going to constantly try to fill our minds with his lies when God wants us to have this bedrock conviction in our hearts.

We talked recently about faith being the victory. This is the basis of that faith. Real faith is not just some kind of blind “belief.” It has a very real foundation. It involves a very real relationship with the One Who reigns! The Lord is my shepherd.

He’s not just somebody else’s shepherd. “Oh, yeah, He watches over them down there. They’re the special ones. Oh, poor me. Poor me. I’m just so bad, I’m so weak. He doesn’t care about me. Look what just happened.”

David could have said that many times, couldn’t he? Remember right toward the end of his time of running from Saul, he was having to hide out with the Philistines. And they wouldn’t even let him go to battle with them for fear he would turn against them. And he and his men went back, and everything was gone, and his own people wanted to stone him, but what did he do? He encouraged himself.

Now, how in the world, where would you find encouragement in a situation like that? You’re certainly not going to find it anywhere down here, but David encouraged himself in the Lord, and he went to God. He got the wisdom and direction that he needed, and God steered him through that difficult situation, and instead of it turning out to be a defeat, it became a glorious victory. (I Samuel, chapter 30).

I’ll tell you, we need to learn how to acknowledge the Lord in every circumstance. The Lord is, present tense, my shepherd, and David knew what that meant. Now, I think we’ve said many times, and we’re aware of the fact, that sheep are not very smart animals, and here’s where I think a lot of people fall down.

They can get religious, but thinking of themselves as weak, ignorant, often foolish, sheep needing a shepherd to watch over them, because they’re not smart enough to watch over themselves, and they can’t provide for themselves – that runs absolutely contrary to man’s spirit of pride and self-reliance.

But here was David who was able, for years, to watch over and deal with those sheep. He knew what it meant to be a sheep and need a shepherd, and here he is – instead of saying, “Look at me and how strong and smart I am,” he’s saying, “I’m nothing but a sheep.”

Not only that, “I’m not resenting that. I am thankful, because the One that I serve is the Lord of all the universe, and I’m willing to take my place of utter dependance upon Him.” That’s humbling, but what a blessing!

My God! Here we are talking about a scary world – yet I’m not alone. The One who made this world, the One Who is using it for the unfolding of His purpose, He’s in charge, and He’s my shepherd. He’s not just a shepherd, He’s mine. I am looking to Him this moment. I’m trusting in His Word. I’m trusting in His promise. He’s my Shepherd.

Think about the underlying truth He’s conveying here. Do you think David had to talk the Lord into this? Did he need to say, “Lord, I know You’ve got more important things to do than pay attention to little old me, but would You please, pretty please, be my shepherd?” No, this is the heart of God that’s revealed here.

This is God’s heart toward you and me this morning. “I long to lead you. I long to be with you in this crazy, broken world. I don’t want you to run around being afraid or angry or whatever else it is that comes out of your nature. I love you. I care about you. You know what it means to have a shepherd that has a true heart towards the sheep, and here I am. I want to be your shepherd.”

Think about Jesus, who said, “I am the good shepherd.” Praise God! Think of the wonderful things He said in John 10: “I am the good shepherd. I give My life for the sheep. I know My sheep, and I’m known of mine, and I give them eternal life. No one can pluck them out of My hand. The Father that sent me is greater than all, and no man can pluck them out of His hand.”

That’s His heart. That’s the Spirit behind it. He’s Someone so great that He can rule the universe, and yet, He cares and knows how many hairs you’ve got on your head right now, and He cares about the things that you’re experiencing right now. And it’s not only that He cares, He’s using them for His purposes. Praise God! The Lord is my shepherd.

Now, in this particular translation, it says next, “I lack nothing.” That’s very simple, straightforward language. How many of you feel like, “Oh, if only I had this, if only I had that? I just don’t have enough courage. I don’t have enough this or that.”

I don’t either. I don’t have what it takes to live in this world and do anything that has any lasting value, and people who think they do are living an illusion, because what would it profit if they were to gain the whole world only to lose their soul? (Matt. 16:26).

God has put us in a dependent position, not because He’s mad at us, but because He loves us and longs to share Himself, His love with every one of His sheep. You think about the One who was willing – not just to be kind to us – but to give His life for us. That’s a shepherd I can trust! That’s a shepherd I can look to with every issue of my life.

Think of this from David’s point of view: “I know what it’s like to take care of sheep. I watch out for them every day. I know they need to eat certain things. I know they need fresh water. I know that I’ve got to search that out and lead them and take them to the places where they have exactly what they need. And if a predator comes and wants to eat them, I know what to do about that too. I care about every detail that affects them. I don’t want them to go around thinking, ‘Oh my God, I don’t have something I need.’”

Is there a little bit of a lesson in that for us? How many of you go through life and think, “Oh, I just don’t have what I need?” The reality is if we are in Christ, if we’ve given our lives to Him and we’re trusting in Him, we have everything we need – everything we need.

Now, that doesn’t mean we always lay hold of it. But do you think, honestly, that there is anything that you and I need to stand there in white one day that He has not provided? Do you think we’re going to get there and find out we didn’t have something we needed along the way?

Will there ever be a time when God needs to have an emergency meeting in heaven because something has happened that He didn’t known was going to happen, and He wasn’t prepared for it? Is there some need that’s come up in your heart and your life that He did not anticipate and provide for completely? Is there?

But we sometimes act like that though, don’t we? Wouldn’t it be good to have this confession of David as the anchor of our soul? To have it so embedded in our thinking that this is our “worldview”? This is how we see everything?

This truth is like a pair of glasses. We see everything about the world and about ourselves through this lens: “I’ve got somebody, the Lord of the universe. He cares about me. He wants a relationship with somebody like me, and not only does He want a relationship, but this relationship involves Him giving me everything I need.”

Think of the scripture we often hear quoted from Romans 8 about how He that gave up His own son for us, how will He not, along with Him, also do what? Give us what? All things. How many things? “All” is a very comprehensive word, isn’t it? There’s nothing that He has left out that I need. Praise God!

Now, the fact that we have been given “all things” does not necessarily mean that I presently possess them all. It’s not as though I could say of every future challenge, “Bring that on. I can handle this, or I can handle that.” No. There are plenty of “scary” things that we will face in this present world that we are not necessarily ready for. Peter thought he was at the time when Jesus was crucified and look how that turned out!

We’ve often referred to what Corrie Ten Boom went through during World War II, and, clearly, God allowed her to experience many things so that she could share her testimony with us. But what she went through, what she was afraid of as the Nazis began to take over was, “I can’t handle this. I can’t handle that.”

Well, I can’t either, but her father reminded her of times when she had been a little girl, and they had taken train trips together. He asked, “When did I give you the ticket?” Well, do you remember what the answer was? “When it’s time to get on the train.”

Do you know that’s how the Lord wants us to live with Him? It’s this present tense. All I can live in is the present, and He wants me in whatever the present “presents” to me, whatever circumstances are involved in that present, to look to Him. I have every right to look to Him as my Shepherd, as my provider knowing that He, along with whatever circumstance He allows in my life, will give me the “ticket” that I need to “ride that train.”

Do you believe that? Praise God! I can commit all the “train trips” in the world to Him and just walk with Him now, because I have what I need, but I also have the confidence that when I need something else, He’ll give it to me.

Think of the scripture to which we often refer in 1 Cor. 10:13. Paul speaks of “temptation” or “testing” that “overtakes” or “seizes” you (depending upon the translation). This is not something we asked for. It just happened, and it’s a challenge to our faith. Nothing has seized us but what is “common to mankind.”

Then there’s that awesome word “but,” and what is it that comes after that? “But God is faithful.” All right, how does that faithfulness express itself? He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but will, with the temptation also give you a way of escape – and the way of escape is that you may be able to “endure it.” In other words, there’s grace, divine help. We have a throne where we can go, the very throne of the universe.

Oh, how much truth God has unlocked for us. David saw in a measure, and he had a relationship with God that was real but look what God has provided for us! We have the record of His Son. We can look back to the victory of the cross. We have His Presence. We can see how He has laid hold of everything you and I could ever need. It’s not a partial salvation but a perfect one. Praise God!

We have One Who has gone to heaven for us, Who is interceding for us. We have One Who prays when we’re weak – sometimes, we’re not even able to pray for ourselves, and there He is. “Father, help that one. They’re in a weak place right now. They need You. They need strength. Please encourage them. Send that Word of encouragement.”

We often hear testimonies of how, in a dark time when the Devil is assaulting the mind, God can penetrate with that Word, and that Word, His light, can dispel that darkness. Folks, I thank God that I can just believe it when I need it. In that present tense, I lack nothing.

Wouldn’t that be a good conviction to live with? Have you ever been in a place where you didn’t have what you needed, and God just messed up and forgot all about you? Sometimes, He can allow it to feel that way, but we have everything we need if we will look to Him from the depths of our hearts.

Folks, I’m trusting that everybody here has this relationship with God. It just needs to grow. I need to grow. I guarantee you. I had to do some growing this morning. Do you think it’s easy to get up, stand up here and do this? We need the Lord, folks. Every single one of us needs the Lord, but oh, what an awesome truth it is that the Lord is, right now, my personal Shepherd. He’s watching over me, and because of that, I lack nothing.

I pray that God will make this real so that, while we can sit here and maybe there’s nothing immediate happening right now, we can go through this week and realize everything that happens, that we face, that we feel is a difficult thing, when that now happens, we can say, “Hey, I’ve got what I need.”

How about the scripture, again often used, about the fight of faith. Here’s Paul knowing what it takes to serve God in this broken world, and he says to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). What does that entail? What follows that expression? Somebody remember the scripture? Lay hold.

There’s something that I have put there for you. It’s there. You’ve got what you need. You’ve got all the money in the bank you could ever need in this Kingdom, the spiritual bank. You understand what I’m talking about? There are untold riches that David talked about. Everything that God knows we will ever need is there, and it belongs to His children. Praise God!

Okay, he goes through a little bit about what this entails, and in the first part we can all say, “That sounds great.” “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Oh, bring it on, Lord. That sounds idyllic. That sounds like a wonderful vacation.

Well, I thank God that’s true, and there are times when that’s exactly how it is. God just refreshes us and quiets us, and we’re not striving. We’re not in the middle of a battle, but we can breathe. I just need You to refresh me, Lord. You know what I need. You know exactly what I need.

I thank God that’s His heart, to give us times like that, but the Lord knows that if that’s all He does, we’re going to get awfully spoiled, and a lot of things that He wants to fix in us and change in us, He can’t change when everything is just idyllic and wonderful.

Here he says, “He guides me along the right paths….” How many of you want to be guided? How many of you believe there is a path laid out before you? Do you believe God has made a plan for your life? Do you want that plan? Are you willing to seek Him about that plan?

That’s pretty basic to the Lord being my Shepherd. I can’t really, honestly understand Him as my Shepherd and say, “Okay, Lord, see You later. I want to do this. I want to do that.” I’ve got to be willing to let Him lead, and I’ve got to be willing to let Him know that I need Him.

We’ve recently used the verse where the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah (30:21), “… your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” How many of you believe the Shepherd wants to lead you? I believe He does. I believe He can lead us in ways that are right.

Another thing the Lord has recently emphasized is this: how many times do various situations present us with choices? My choice could easily be, if I follow my old nature, I’m going to go this way. Well, is that the right path? Is it the right path for me to react according to my old nature, and say, this is the way I’m going to go? This is how I’m going to react to this situation?

No. God is going to put us in places where He’s going to say, “This is the right path.” It could involve forgiveness. It could involve a lot of things where we’re willing to humble ourselves and say, “All right, Lord, You’re the Shepherd. You know. I’m going to humble myself under Your hand. You’re the One Who not only leads me, but You’re going to provide what I need, because I need You. Lord I don’t have what it takes.” Do you see where David is coming from in this guiding principle of his life?

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even …” now, here’s this part, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,” – the “valley of the shadow of death,” literally.

Obviously, life is not all about pleasant pastures and cool steams, is it? Now, put this together with the fact that “He leads me,” and yet, here David finds himself in the darkest valley. What conclusion do you draw from that? Simply this: The Lord led him there.

The Lord had a purpose in taking David into a very dark, difficult place many times. God had a reason. God brought him to those places, but what did he learn in them, and how did he react to that fact? How did he react to the prospect of it? David had such a conviction, that he was able to say, “I will fear no evil.”

Now, does that mean David never experienced any fear? Of course not. We all do, but there comes a point where fear is a choice. Do you understand what I’m saying? I don’t care what the particular issue is. It could be a thousand other things that come from this old nature, but there comes a point when a choice is made.

David says, “I recognize I could be in that situation. He could lead me into a difficult place. How am I going to handle that? Here’s how I’m going to handle it. I will – I’m going to make a choice.”

Now, how could he make that choice? Was this just natural human bravado? Was this simply strong character that rose to the challenge? No! This goes right back to, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

Do you see how that bedrock conviction allows people to go through those times and say, “I will fear no evil”? We know what the Devil’s going to try to do. He will do everything in his power to make us fearful. But, as we read in 2 Tim. 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Every single one of us fights that battle, but wouldn’t it be good to say by faith, “I will”?

Now, again, how could he make that kind of a choice and say, “I will”? How could he make that choice without understanding that God was going to give him what he needed in order to be able to make that choice? Do you see the dependence that is implied in everything that he’s writing here? “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Based upon that, I will not fear.

“I will fear no evil…” why? Again, “for you are with me.” Praise God! I tell you what, do you need the Lord with you in those times? I do. Has He promised? Does He want us to learn how to lean upon Him and to hold that bedrock conviction and act accordingly during those times?

You know, – sadly, from our earthly point of view – how do we have to learn that? How do we learn such things? Ah, experience. It would be so nice if we could learn all of this in classrooms and seminars, but no, we have to go through difficult times and trust Him and experience His faithfulness.

We had a message awhile back, “From Test to Testimony.” How does one get a testimony? It comes from real life experience, doesn’t it? It enables us to say, “I’ve been there. God took me through a dark valley. He didn’t allow me to see any hope, and the Devil tried to fill my head with all kinds of fearful thoughts. But somehow, there was a measure of faith that He had put in my heart, that He enabled me to pull on and lean on and to begin to express.

“I remembered that He is my Savior, He is my Shepherd, and I looked to Him. I called on Him, and He gave me strength. He didn’t just make it all go away, but I found out that I wasn’t alone, that in that dark time, He was right there. He never let go of my hand. He walked with me through it.”

Of course, you all know the vision that someone had, where he was enabled to look back on his life, and he saw two sets of footprints in the sand. Then, there came a time in that person’s life when everything had looked bad, things had been especially difficult – and there was only one set of footprints. And he said, “Lord, I don’t understand. That was the time I needed You most. Why did You leave me? Why was I alone?” And the Lord replied, “You weren’t alone. There’s only one set of footprints because I was carrying you.”

You think about the heart of this Shepherd. There are all kinds of shepherds, and would-be shepherds, in this world, but you think about this Shepherd. We’ve already talked about Jesus saying He was the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep, but remember the prophecy in Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Do you feel weak and small and unimportant? You might be a child, and you might be wondering, how in the world could He care about me? He wants you to know that if He needs to do it, He’s going to carry you in His arms. He’s going to gently lead those that are with young.

Do you sense the heart of what God wants to communicate to His people? He wants everyone here to know how He thinks about you and how much He cares, and how much He wants to bury this conviction in your heart today so that you will always know, regardless of what happens, that He’s there. He’s in the middle of it with you.

There’s a reason He led you that way, and He did it so He could show His power and His glory in your heart and your life, and that you are never without something that you need, because He will always give you what you need in the circumstance. Praise God!

This is not real deep theology, but this is life, folks. Do you see why David was a man after God’s own heart and how much the Lord was able to express Himself through David? You see it in his other Psalms, but what a clear picture of his “worldview,” if you want to put it that way! This is the way David saw life.

“Even though I walk through the valley, I will…” I will. That’s a choice, “I will fear no evil….” That doesn’t mean he didn’t fear or feel fear. Everybody does that. The question is not whether we feel fear. The question is, what we do about it. Our Shepherd wants us to be able and willing to say, “I will not yield to that. I will still remember that God is faithful, that He is with me. His Word is still true. I’m going to rely on Him, and not only that, I’m going to rely on Him for the ability to rely on Him.” Think about that! I have everything I need, but it all comes from Him, every bit of it.

Are you willing to take that place and realize how dependent you are on Him? The more I go, the more I say, “Yes, Lord. You’ve shown me in so many ways in my life how desperately I need You. At times, I thought I was smart enough, or I was strong enough, or I was this, or I was that. You had to show me that I wasn’t, but in that, You showed me how faithful You are. You showed me that I’m never without the hope of all that You have promised.”

Can you sense, in David’s words, that he’s saying these same things? “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Now, obviously, in order for that to be true, there had to have been some enemies around that were threatening him. So again, God is taking David into a place that, from every earthly point of view, looks like a bad place to be. It looks like a place of danger, and yet, God was giving him a provision for that situation.

That sounds like we all need to be able to see the Lord, not just in a theoretical way, but to see Him right in that particular moment, and say, “Lord, I need some food here, and You’ve promised to lay that table before me.” Again, that’s a situation where you’re in darkness, but there’s light that’s coming through, and God is feeding your soul with something that’s true. Folks, I want to be one of those that just believes His Word in the face of whatever comes.

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” But here is the conviction about this. He’s talking, first of all, about all the circumstances of life. Some of them are pleasant. Some of them are not, but God’s always with me. I’ll always have what I need, so where are we going with all of this?

All right, “Surely….” that’s an awesome word to begin verse 6 with, isn’t it! “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” All the days of my; all the days of my life; every single one of them; every single one of them!

Even when you can’t see it or feel it, “your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell….” That’s a pretty strong, clear statement, but do you see the basis on which he could make that?

There was a relationship with a God who had made Himself known, and basically said, “I want a relationship with you, but this is how it’s going to be. You’re just a sheep. You don’t know. You can’t really provide for yourself. You don’t know what your purpose is here. I do, and you need Me to guide your steps and to give you what you need, and that’s what I want, and I’m doing it, not because I want to be somebody, some big shot, and it’s all about ego. This is because My nature is to love you and to care about you. You could be the smallest and weakest sheep, but I care, and not only that, I’m not going to lose you.”

 Do you think the Lord’s going to forget about one of His? Do you think we’re going to be “lost in the shuffle”? A God who can track every hair of my head, (and the ones that have fallen out!) every one of them, can handle it. He can keep up with me. I need Him to keep up with me. I need Him every hour. Praise God! “Surely.”

Now, he’s looking forward to the things that will happen in the rest of his life. And based on everything that he has said so far in his conviction about the Lord being his Shepherd and lacking nothing he continues, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life….” And it doesn’t end there, does it, “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Praise God!

Is that the conviction that is resident in your heart and your life today with whatever, wherever you’re at in your life? I pray that God will burn this truth deep into my heart and yours as well. This is what He wants, and if you haven’t come to that, you have every right to reach out to Him. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6, KJV).

I tell you; God will never turn away an honest seeking heart. You have every right to come to Him, to “lay your cards on the table” and say, “Lord, I need You. I can’t run my own life. I just need You. I need this relationship.”

He wants it more than you do. Do you understand that? I thank God that He’s so merciful, because we’re just like a sheep sometimes. We wander in our own way. We get in the briars. We do all kinds of foolish things, but anyway, I’m so thankful.

There’s nothing revolutionary here, but I just felt like the Lord wanted to remind us of something that’s very important, don’t you think? Talk about living in a scary world, an unpredictable one, but I’m not alone. The One who made this world is my Shepherd, and He has foreseen everything that I could ever possibly need, and He’s made it available, and He made it available through the death of His Son. Wow! I can trust Somebody like that.

Does that define your life? I hope it does. But right now, you have every reason to have a heart of joy, thankfulness and expectation, and in that light, to put your future in His hands. It’s His job to work that out, to mark our paths out and take us through them, because I know when we “get on the train,” we’ll have the “ticket.” But He also wants me to be able to leave the past behind and live in the “is.”

The Lord is my shepherd. There’s something that’s very present. But consider this: “is” is not just a time thing. It’s also a positive statement. The Lord is. This is positive. This is real. This is not just some fantasy that I’ve come up with. The reality is, right now, He is my shepherd. It’s a fact! He is the One to Whom I look, and I lack nothing.

What do you lack this morning? Maybe we need to look up. Maybe this needs to be a little more real so that we’re able to say, “Lord, You know what I need right now, and I’m looking to You in confidence,” even though we know that, in ourselves, we don’t deserve anything.

It’s true that no one can come and say, “Lord, I deserve this.” But that is why He invites us to come on the ground of what Jesus did – we can go to that throne and find mercy. Anyone here need mercy? Yeah, but we can find that there, can’t we? We can go right past all the courts of this world, right past every human institution, and go straight to the throne that rules the universe and find mercy and grace to do what? Help us when? In our time of need. Thank God! (Heb. 4:14-16).

Do you think He’s going to run out of strength? Remember the last part of Isaiah 40. He’s got all the strength that He needs, and He’s more than willing to share it. I’m just so thankful to have a Shepherd this morning, aren’t you? I’m so thankful to be able to leave both the past and the future in His hands and simply say, “Thank You, Lord. You are what I need right now, and I have everything that I need, and I’m trusting in You. To Your Name be the glory!” 

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