To Want, or not to Want

QuietWatersPsalm 23:1-3a

The psalmist makes a bold claim when he says, “I shall not be in want.” Although I aspire to make that claim my own, I haven’t mastered it. Confidence to pronounce “I shall not be in want” only comes when I am mindful of what makes that statement possible—the Lord is my shepherd. Because He sees to my needs, I shall not be in want.

“He makes me lie down.” Sometimes I just need rest. I need to stop running, holding things together, and checking off lists. I need to still my heart, mind and soul. I may deny it, fight it or argue that there’s no time for it, but He always knows my needs better than I do. He lets me, He causes me to lie down. When I yield to the Spirit’s nudging, He alone provides the rest that can refresh my soul, my spirit and my body.

“Lie down in green pastures.” Sheep will not lie down when they’re hungry. Is it any wonder then that He leads me to green pastures for a resting place? It is where I am fed and nourished by the Word (my green pasture). The assurance of the Word calms my soul and gives me peace—the rest I desperately need.

“He leads me beside quiet waters.” The Shepherd quenches my thirst and allows me to refresh myself with clear, cool water. He knows that sheep will not drink from rushing water—they cannot take it in—so He leads me to quiet, palatable water that I can easily ingest. The satisfaction I could not find elsewhere is found at the quiet waters provided by the Spirit.

“He restores my soul.” My restoration—renewal, wholeness, completeness, satisfaction, functionality, energy, fervor—does not come from ordinary rest, food and water, but from my Shepherd’s provision. It is His leading, His nearness and His protection (as we’ll see next time in v4). Restoration full and deep comes from Him alone.

The Shepherd satisfies my needs—I shall not want.

I am restored—made new, useful, secure, not wanting, ready, capable, as good or better than before.

Lord, thank you for causing me to lie down, for satisfying my hunger and thirst, for refreshing me and restoring me. You are my good Shepherd and I praise you.

*For meditations on the first five words of Psalm 23, scroll down past the last two posts.

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For Us: A Child, A Kingdom, Peace

stockvault-mont-saint-michel138300I love reading Isaiah 9:6-7b during Advent, but I felt sad that familiarity can rob such a beautiful passage of its magnificence. I determined to spend time meditating on the words and share the blessings of that quiet time with you.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase [greatness] of his government and peace
there will be no end.

Isaiah does not say the child is born to a virgin–isn’t that curious? Rather, he writes that a child is born to us. He is given to us. This birth was not about Mary, it was about us. It’s only about Mary insomuch as she’s one of us. He was born for the sake and salvation of humanity.

The child who was to be born would carry the government, the ruler-ship of the world, on His shoulders. When we think of carrying a burden on our shoulders, we think of a weight, heaviness. But it would not be a burden for Him, but a high calling and position of power and majesty. He is ruler of a Kingdom and we are invited into its citizenship. As ruler He is:

Counselor, God, Father, Prince—Holy Spirit, Father, Son. This is familiar to us, as are the descriptive words Isaiah uses, but take a moment to meditate on those words:

  • Wonderful—full of wonder; magnificent, superb, breathtaking, amazing, astonishing, fantastic, brilliant, great—we will never grasp the fullness of His wonder. Rather than be satisfied at revelations of His wonder, we will only long for more revelations.
  • Mighty—powerful, strong, potent, great, grand–nothing is beyond His ability, outside His power, too great for His might.
  • Everlastingever-lasting; lasts, doesn’t fade—eternal, endless, ceaseless, never-ending, perpetual, undying, unending; as opposed to temporary, short-lived, passing. His reign and supremacy isn’t temporary. It never becomes less, is never threatened, never wavers.
  • Peace—calm, quiet, stillness, tranquility, harmony, serenity; not chaotic or turbulent, no upheaval. In all situations, at all times He brings peace. He is ever in control of time and events.

There is no end to the increase, or greatness, of His government or its peace. There is never a disruption or lull; never a government coup. No one can usurp His power or overtake His position. His government ever grows and increases until the day comes when all things will be under His feet.

So, yes, a Savior was born in Bethlehem… and what a Savior He is–a wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace of a Kingdom without end.