Ages ago, a shepherd-turned-king named David sang,
The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. (Ps. 23:1)
Centuries later, Jesus echoed and enlarged on David’s words. He said:
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. I am the Good Shepherd. (John 10:1011 MSG)
In other words: “I am the Lord your shepherd; you lack nothing. Quite the opposite, actually.”
Peter the apostle affirmed that it’s true:
By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. (2 Peter 1:3 CEB)
Ages ago, the tribe of Joseph sang a very different song. I’ve sung this song on occasion – okay, on a lot of occasions. Maybe you have too. It goes something like this: “Lord, what you’ve given us isn’t enough.”
Joseph’s descendants were numerous, but no more numerous than some of the other Israelite tribes. Yet, when Joshua divided up the land of Canaan in the way God specified, Joseph’s clan complained that their allotment was too small. In reality, they despised the good land they’d been given because: (a) it had hills, where crops wouldn’t necessarily thrive; (b) it had lots of forests, which would take lots of work to clear, and (c) it had plains, where Canaanites with iron chariots lived.
Joshua told Joseph’s tribe (my paraphrase): “You lack nothing. The area that you can easily occupy may be small. But that should motivate you to rise up and work. And because you have strength and numbers, and because God himself has given you this land, you can clear it and possess it” (see Josh. 17:14-17).
Always, these three things create deep unrest:
- a sense of lack,
- the feeling that God hasn’t treated you fairly,
- the fear of not having enough.
So, I ask you: What do you think you lack? In what areas do you fear not having enough? What has God done that makes you want to shout, “Not fair!”
With those things in mind, which song will you choose to sing? The song of Joseph’s clan? “The Lord has short-changed me. I don’t have what I need.”
Or, David’s refrain? “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (NLT).
Today, I remind myself once again: When the Lord Who Shepherds is your keeper, protector, nurturer and provider, you lack nothing. You have all you need to be who he created you to be and to live out his purpose for your life.
As you rest in that truth, he shows you what you do have. He teaches you how to use it. He multiplies what may seem small. He empowers you to possess the abundance that Jesus gave everything to provide for you.
Adapted from Return to Your Rest, © 2016 Deborah P. Brunt