You Shall Not Want – Another Look at Psalms 23

You Shall Not Want – Another Look at Psalm 23

“What is God’s heart toward the wants, needs, and desires of life? How do we adopt the mind of Christ in this area and live our best life in God as a result?”

Introduction: The Commonality of the Familiar and How we often Miss what God is Saying:

There are many verses and passages in the Scripture that we take almost for granted that are so familiar to us. Examples would be:

[Jhn 3:16 KJV] 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

[Jer 29:11 KJV] 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

[Rom 8:28 KJV] 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

[Phl 4:13 KJV] 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

[Mat 6:33 KJV] 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

[Jhn 14:6 KJV] 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We read these verses or quote them in a spiritually numb state sometimes exactly because they are so familiar they have become common and lost some of their power in our regard. This could cause us to fail to appropriate their power to transform our lives. Let’s to deep dive into Psalm. 23:1:

I Shall Not Want

[Psa 23:1 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm of David.]] The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

Many people look at this verse and qualify its promise claiming and asserting that “God gives us our NEEDS not our wants.” Isn’t that contradictory to what David writes in this passage?

Is God, is Jesus your shepherd? The answer would be yes. Then because of that fact by the promise of God, you shall not want. We know that is true concerning the Son of God on the Right Hand of Glory (who is first and foremost our Shepherd) but what about the pastor in your local church?

If God is pastoring you through that man or woman who leads the congregation you are attached to then it follows in that case that our wants would be met and our desires spontaneously fulfilled (if he/she is God’s leadership choice for us). Is there any truth to that insight? Is that possible? Paul made the following statement to the Philippians:

[Phl 4:19 KJV] 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Notice he didn’t say “your God.” He emphasized, “my God” (or his God). In other words, because there was an apostolic connection and relationship to these people, there would be a grace flowing not just from heaven but from the anointing on Paul’s life to make a positive change in the lives of these people who looked to him as their pastor/apostle/leader.

Is this the only way to look at this passage? The point being is that adjustments are at times needed, prayerfully, seeking God’s will to eliminate the contradiction of lack in our lives and see the abundance Jesus died to provide become secured in our daily experience.

Aligning Our Thinking with God’s Word

Are you in want? Is this the norm for the believer? We do face challenges, but God’s expectation and promise is that we SHALL NOT WANT. If you are in want, the conclusion you might make would be, “Well, the Bible says many things that don’t align with modern-day experience…” Or to wrongly conclude, “God desires that I be in lack or want” for some higher purpose. That thinking contradicts the clear promise of scripture.  Then there are some questions then that you should be asking. Religion says it is wrong to want. We are told by alleged authorities that maybe God will meet our needs, but the rest of it is nothing we should bother God with because it may be selfish on our part. There is a preponderance of thinking in religion that Jesus doesn’t address these things in our lives but simply wants us to know that He is with us in the midst of suffering without actually delivering us consistently from suffering, although we admit occasionally that does happen but it isn’t the norm. Does that thinking align with scripture? David, a man after God’s own heart, penned these words:

Psalm 37: 4: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

In reading this, ask yourself, “What does David know that I don’t know?” You could simply conclude that David was a special case, and as a result of his unique status with God, he was blessed in ways that might not be the common experience of the average believer. What to do and how to think then about suffering? The dominant question when we suffer is often “Why God?” or “Where did I go wrong?” What if suffering wasn’t God’s first choice for you? What if your difficulty has nothing to do with God punishing you or trying to teach you something through hardship?

It is so commonplace among those suffering to conclude, “Well, I believe God is trying to teach me something in the midst of all of this…” You even hear this in counseling or public speaking of our leaders. Is this true? Does God bring suffering or allow suffering to refine us and teach us things we need to know? The words of Jesus might give us pause in this course of thought:

[Jhn 14:26 KJV] 26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Do you see what the verse is saying? The Comforter, the Holy Spirit (according to Jesus) teaches us ALL THINGS. What does this mean? That means God doesn’t use something other than the Holy Spirit (read “the Comforter) to teach us. This flies in the face of the retort preachers make about themselves, saying:

“I am here to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable…”

If that is the character of your ministry or the ministry you are sitting under … to afflict …. others with your preaching, then what spirit does that make you of? It’s time to adjust our thinking in such matters. The Holy Spirit is the teacher, and He is also the Comforter. He doesn’t alternate between comforting and afflicting you to learn something allegedly. I heard this in my spirit years ago:

God doesn’t place any premium on suffering. He will never put on us what He went to the Cross to take off of us. He will never put in our lives what the work of redemption is intended to remove from our lives.


If that is the case, then why am I suffering? Why are you suffering (when suffering does occur.)? Let scripture discern the situation because while our discernment is faulty, God’s word is called “the Great Discerner.”

[Heb 4:12 KJV] 12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word is quick? Why? Because the devil is slippery! Notice that the word will delineate for you what in your life arises from “flesh” and what arises from “spirit.” What is soulish and natural, and what is spiritual and supernatural (bearing in mind that not all things spiritual are necessarily godly.)

If You Are in Want, is the Lord Really Your Shepherd?

When we are hurting, this kind of challenge is offensive. That offense makes it very difficult to be teachable or open to see things another way. However, if the scripture is to be depended on, then it doesn’t strain the application to conclude if the Lord is my shepherd, then I shall not live a life characterized by unresolved suffering or unmet want. If I am in want, does that mean in some way I’m not allowing him to be my shepherd in the manner that the verse implies? When the Lord is your shepherd, you shall not be in want. If you are in want, what does that tell you?

[Pro 13:15 KJV] 15 Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors [is] hard.

God didn’t create you for hardship; He created you for favor. If you are bearing hardship, you have to ask yourself, is Jesus your shepherd? I’m not saying that difficulties are unknown in the lives of believers but I am asserting that God will never allow to linger in your life that which Jesus went to the Cross to remove from your life.

Let’s look deeper into this verse (Pro. 13:15). Good understanding gives favor, but the way of transgressors is hard. Does this mean if you are not in God’s favor, you are in sin? I don’t think that is what David is implying. God’s favor comes through GOOD UNDERSTANDING. The subject matter concerns understanding things around you the way God does. If you don’t have God’s way of understanding life around you, then that is the transgression – a transgression of understanding. A wrong idea about God and what you are going through means.

According to this verse, the key to addressing hardship is to get what Solomon calls “good understanding.” Good understanding puts you in God’s favor. What is favor? God doing for you things that others around you think are unfair or unwarranted in terms of blessing. If that doesn’t resonate with you, it’s because you’ve never experienced the indulgence of God in this area. When you have good understanding (if you believe this verse), life won’t be so hard. The way of the transgressor (those who transgress in understanding) is hard. Is it hard? If you let scripture interpret scripture, then the conclusion to be drawn is that you have transgressed not necessarily morally but in your understanding. Therein lay the judgment of God but also the salvation of God. There aren’t many things you can change in life, but you can change your mind and come around to a new way of understanding that God calls “good understanding,” but we will call “God understanding.” The way of those with good understanding will cease to be consistently hard all the time. Make that adjustment in your heart and mind, and things will begin to shift for you. So, settle it in your heart that Jesus is your shepherd, the Father is your refiner, and your expectation in life is according to John 10:10, from which you will never swerve:

[Jhn 10:10 KJV] 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

If Jesus is your shepherd, but the level of contradiction to God’s promise is unsustainable in your life, ask yourself:

“Is Jesus the Great Shepherd, shepherding me through my pastor and the leadership of the church I am in.”

Church leadership might get nervous if you ask yourself this, but it has to be addressed. Are you where and are you with the leadership God has chosen for your life? No matter how anointed a man or woman of God might be as a leader, they can do nothing for you if you are out of God’s will in submitting to their pastoral care. Ask the question. Get an answer and settle it in your heart to be where and with whom God wants you to be connected.

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