Psalm 23 Series: I Shall Not Want

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I have all I need.

New Living Translation

I do not lack.

Young’s Literal Translation

I don’t need a thing.

The Message Bible

A sheepherder’s responsibilities do not end at 5 pm. There is no shift change or someone else to give him a break. From sunrise and even after they are bed down for the night, the sheep remain under the complete management and care of the shepherd. A typical day for the diligent sheepman comprises him rising early in the morning to look over his flock. This is the initial intimate contact of the day. He carefully looks over them, instantly knowing if something is wrong or if something has happened, that requires his immediate attention.

Carefully watching throughout the day; and even at night, he sleeps with “one eye and both ears open”. The shepherd is ready to respond with the least sight of trouble to protect his own. He delights in his flock and will go to no end to ensure they have the finest grazing, ample feed, and clean water. He provides protection from storms, enemies, parasites and diseases, practically “laying down his life” for his sheep.

When the psalmist writes “I shall not want,” not only is he saying that he has no lack, or need for anything, but he is also acknowledging his state of contentment, having entrusted himself into the Lord’s control. He finds great solace in knowing that the Father is more than capable of navigating him through any situation or circumstance. Lack does not always mean material things. Most of us know or have heard of people who are wealthy but miserable. The Good Shepherd’s desire is for those under His care to prosper physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.

3 John 2 New Living Translation

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!

I Thes. 5:23 -24 The Message Bible

This does not mean the believer is absent of trouble, rather the LORD is there to deliver us out of them all (Psalm 34:19). Only those who have entrusted themselves completely to The LORD’s care may have contentment enough to boldly declare, “I shall not want”.


Keller, W. Phillip. A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1970, 2007.

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