The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The Lord is our Shepherd. In Israel, making a living as a shepherd was not a status symbol; it was considered one of the lowliest positions of service. For the psalmist David to liken Jehovah God to a shepherd seems quite the paradox. How could our Lord Above All, Who created the heavens and the earth, be so down-to-earth as to walk among the sheep?
King David, who started out as a young shepherd boy, understood that God is with us, never far away, walking beside us, and providing all we need so we do not want for anything. David also understood that a good shepherd was not just a provider, but he was also a healer. David remarked that God anointed his head with oil, that his cup ran over (Psalm 23:5). Every shepherd carried oil with him – a mixture of olive oil, fragrant frankincense, and myrrh which was a natural pain killer.
In the rainy spring season in Israel, lambs graze in the fields. The sharp, new blades of grass cut the lambs’ tender noses, and something dreadful occurs. Flies lay their eggs in those tiny wounds. When they hatch, the maggots work into the nasal passages of the sheep where they cause serious agony. The sheep will run from place to place and butt their heads into rock or trees to jar those tormenters loose. When the shepherd realizes the situation, he pulls the oil flask from his belt and pours it over the head of the sheep. The fragrant oil runs over the sheep’s faces and into the wounds where it eradicates the pests and brings healing and relief.
Satan, whom Jesus referred to as Beelzebub (meaning Lord of the Flies), seeks out the wounds and sore spots in our lives. He embeds himself there and begins to torment and terrorize. He brings such agony and pain that we will not know what to do except to run from place to place, pounding our heads against anything that might bring a measure of relief – anything that might deaden our pain.
We have a Good Shepherd Who will leave the other ninety-nine sheep to come looking for you. He will take you in His arms and pour in the oil of the Holy Spirit. He will tenderly anoint you until it runs into every wound, every spot that brings anguish and torment to bring relief and healing and peace. In His arms, you will know what it is to want for nothing.