“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” writes David.
Can we even conceive of not wanting?
Our society runs on “wanting.”
Can we want for Life in such a way that we no longer live it?
Can we want the Good in such a way that we can no longer enjoy it?
Can we want for Love in such a way that we can no longer know it… or be known by it—that is Him?
Can we want God in such a way that we might nail him to a tree?
If God is Sovereign and God is Love and God is our Shepherd, then every circumstance, in each moment, is exactly what each one of us needs.
And all our “wanting” makes it evident that we still need faith in the Great Shepherd.
Shall I want for faith? I want to “not want.”
How do I not want to “want to ‘not want’”?
Human words fail us, but God gives us a picture and a Word.
When God lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he led them as a shepherd.
He fed them with bread from heaven and water from a rock.
He gives us a picture, and we also paint pictures.
We paint pictures of handsome shepherds loving adorable sheep.
I’ve always struggled with that picture; I silently asked myself this question: “Don’t shepherds eat sheep… in particular roast lamb… like the lamb we eat on Passover and Easter?”
“The Lord is my shepherd.” Minor Glitch: I don’t want to be eaten!
David continues, “He restores my soul.”
Jesus taught us that we must lose our soul, to find it. Maybe that’s how it’s “restored.”
“Even though I walk through the valley of tsalmaveth [uncreation and chaos] I will fear no evil.”
We must each die with Christ and rise with Christ.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
What table and who are my enemies?
With every sin, I nail Christ to a tree; I make God my enemy.
Every time I want what my neighbor has, I make my neighbor my enemy.
And with all my wants, I trap myself alone in the self-centered prison that is my lonely arrogant old “me.” I am my own worst enemy.
The Israelites were terrifically, painfully aware of one table that God had prepared before them.
It was in the sanctuary of the tabernacle that constantly traveled with them.
To approach God in this place involved the sacrifice of sheep, goats, wine, and grain.
Fire would come from heaven and consume the sacrifices.
It seems that the Shepherd does eat sheep.
The table was placed before the veil that covered the throne and upon it was placed the “Bread of the Presence.”
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life… and I am the bread that comes down from heaven.”
In the wilderness the Israelites complained: “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?”
God did, with bread from heaven and water from a rock—but Israel wanted more.
They wanted meat.
Jesus is the Bread; he bleeds the Water; he is the Passover Lamb—the meat.
He is the Revelation of Love.
I need faith in Love, but I can’t achieve faith with wantonness.
The Great Shepherd provides for my needs, by constantly feeding me with himself.
He has prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
It reminds me not to “want,” for I begin to see that I already have Jesus—and all things with him.
Love is a communion of self-sacrifice, and Love is Life, and Life is Joy.
The Life is in the blood that circulates in the body—one body with many members.
Be consumed by Love.
Present yourself a living sacrifice, for God is constantly presenting himself as a living sacrifice to you.
Love God without caution, without boundaries, without concern for yourself.
Lose yourself in Love and you will find yourself thoroughly Loved.
You don’t lack, so may you not want.
It’s the flesh that always wants, and so always takes, and so keeps us in bondage to isolation and death.
But within the sanctuary of your soul, on the other side of the table and behind the torn curtain, there is a Spirit that constantly loves, for he is Love.
You are so much more than simply one more sheep wanting one more consumer item in our American system of relentless wantonness.
You’re more than a sheep; you’re the body of the Great Shepherd.