June 23 I Sunday
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
—Psalm 23:1 (KJV)
The opening verse comes from one of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture––the “Shepherd Psalm.” Though this verse is translated in many different ways, each translation communicates the same truth. The Amplified Bible expresses, “The LORD is my shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.” The Contemporary English Version declares, “You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.” The Douay-Rheims Bible translation asserts, “The LORD ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.” The Young’s Literal Translation states, “Jehovah [is] my shepherd, I do not lack.” And The Message reads, “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.”
But what does it mean to “not want” or “not lack”? Contentment is not simply the result of an environment that is comfortable and sufficient. Contentment is an attitude and disposition of the mind. It is possible to have everything that seems right around us and yet be discontented, while it is also possible to have everything around us falling apart and still be content.
Eve and Paul serve as two contrasting attitudes toward contentment. While Eve was in the Garden of Eden, she had everything—the environment was beautiful, the food was great and her husband was fine. But our circumstances are never enough if our hearts are not satisfied. Hence, when the devil dangled the forbidden fruit before her, telling her it was good for food, would make her wise, and give her something she supposedly lacked, she took of it and ate. That’s when everything fell into a mess.
The apostle Paul, on the other hand, wrote while imprisoned, to the Philippians, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). He had learned the secret that contentment has nothing to do with his circumstances but is about a disposition of the heart.
“To not want” is a choice. We need to make this choice because we are constantly bombarded with ideas that what we have is not enough. All advertisings are designed to make us dissatisfied and to want what it is that they are offering us. But we are able to find contentment in any situations we face because there is adequate provision for us when the Lord is our shepherd. Are we ready to trust God as our Good Shepherd and believe He will guide us, lead us, and put us in the right place because that is what a shepherd does for his sheep?
Prayer: Lord God, You are my Shepherd and I have no want when I am with You. Help me to find contentment in whatever circumstances I may face because You are by my side.
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