Sunday, March 6, 2005

The Shepherd of Prosperity

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
Everything about this great Psalm speaks of prosperity and wholeness. We might even say that it is the very definition of peace, the fullness of the Hebrew shalom.

“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” The LORD supplies all that we need. There is no lack with Him.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” Sheep lie down when they are full, when they’ve had all they want to eat. The LORD our Shepherd takes us to places where there is more than enough to meet our needs. We don’t lie down in dry, dusty fields, having eaten all the grass. No, He leads us to where the pastures are green, even after we’ve eaten our fill.

“He leads me beside the still water.” There is a place of peace and calm, even in the midst of the storm. And that is where our Shepherd takes us. He gives us to drink from the river of His pleasures (Psalm 36:8).

“He restores my soul.” Restoration to wholeness. We do not come up short in anything.

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” He leads us into what is right, what is good, and what leads us into the prosperity of God.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” This is not about death, but about life, for He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. The devil is the false shepherd who comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd who comes to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10).

“For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Our prosperity comes from our relationship with Him. He provides for us, guides and directs us, and gives us His protection.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Here is how we know that this Psalm is not just about heaven, but especially about this present life: We will have no enemies in heaven! God sets that table for us, even in the presence of our enemies. He abundantly satisfies us with the fullness of His house (Psalm 36:8).

“You anoint my head with oil.” This is the sign of His favor and hospitality, but also of His enabling in our lives. The anointing lifts the burden and destroys the yoke (Isaiah 10:27). It is a sign of our prosperity.

“My cup runs over.” Not only are all our needs met, but we have more than enough. Our God is able to make His grace abound to us so that we always have all sufficiency in all things—and abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8)

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The prosperity of God in our lives is not a passing thing. It endures all our days. His goodness and mercy are always with us.

“And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” The secret of true prosperity is dwelling with Him. So deep is His love and so rich is His grace toward us, He takes us into His abode. We are not merely welcomed as visitors, but given a dwelling place forever in His presence.

The LORD is our shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd, the shepherd of our prosperity.