“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This familiar opening of Psalm 23 contrasts starkly with the want all around us, and perhaps in us. What do you want? What have you thought about, worked for, and longed for in 2020?
The Hebrew construct expressing “I shall not want” (or “I will not lack”) also appears in Nehemiah 9:20-21. In prayer to God the Levites recounted how their ancestors were cared for while wandering in the wilderness before entering Canaan: “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst. Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” (emphasis mine)
If you are familiar with the account of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, you know that they wanted lots of things. Complaining and rebellion leading to provision, punishment, or both became a recurring pattern. They “drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:4b-5)
Perhaps this world is becoming much like a wilderness to us, and our journey through life may be compared with theirs. I encourage you to consider the words of the inspired psalmist, and compare them with your own experience and attitudes. There are both pleasant and noxious things in the wilderness; but there is no life-giving provision there. Our hope is not in the wilderness, but in our Rock, Jesus Christ. In Him, we lack nothing.
Our latest article, authored by Luther Patches, draws lessons from Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land to show how we can live and lead courageously today. Read it to learn how Joshua crossed “A River Without a Bridge”.