Just Five Words | The Institute for Creation Research
Just Five Words

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:13).

Let’s take a closer look at this oft-repeated verse.

“The” is our word to point out something specific. David did not write, “A LORD is my Shepherd,” but “The LORD is my Shepherd.” In a day when the rest of the world believed in many gods, the Hebrews proclaimed, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“LORD” (all in capital letters) is used in place of the most sacred and most personal name of God—the one revealed by God Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). The name itself, Yahweh (also rendered Jehovah), was considered so sacred it was pronounced only once a year, and then only by the high priest. It is an ancient Hebrew form of the most basic verb in any language, “to be.” Therefore, the LORD is the One “who is.” All being—all existence comes from Him.

“Is” is a present form of the verb “to be.” Since we live in the present, this verse is always and continuously true in our lives.

“My” personalizes this great reality. It applies to me at all times—or rather, it can. I am a free being, responsible for my own fate. The Creator God has offered to be my shepherd. If I agree, I am in His fold, and He then is my shepherd. There is an infinite difference between saying, “The LORD is a shepherd,” and “The LORD is my shepherd.”

“Shepherd”—In the New Testament we learn that the Lord took on human form and came to earth as Jesus. He is “the good shepherd (who) giveth His life for the sheep. . . . my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:11,27,28). Since the great Jehovah has graciously offered to be my continual provider, “I shall not want” any good thing. DER

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