“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1 NIV)
To say “the Lord is my shepherd” and to know the Lord as one’s shepherd are two different things.
It is important to confess the Lord as our shepherd at any time, of course. But particularly so in the midst of trials–trials of life, trials of faith.
Where does the shepherd king David gain such insight and assurance?
I believe we have a clue in one of his most famous stories, the showdown between the boy David and the giant Goliath (found in 1 Samuel 17).
The Hebrew army of Saul is terrified to face the Philistine champion Goliath. He taunts them constantly. Young David delivers food and supplies to his older military brothers. He is appalled at the gall of Goliath and the hesitancy of his fellow Hebrews. He will challenge and deal with the enemy Goliath. To face this threat, he refuses to imagine himself tackling it solo.
David is confident that God will be with him. How? The clue is in his own history with the Lord.
“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.””
(1 Samuel 17:36-37 NIV, emphasis mine)
David knows that the Lord will be his Shepherd as he faces the giant Goliath because the Lord had been his Shepherd when he faced the lion and the bear.
David proclaims, “the Lord is my shepherd,” because he knows it to be true.
So, what past episodes in your walk with the Lord remind you to trust in his present help, to know “the Lord is my shepherd”?