Eason's Bible Dictionary explains, "The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1Sa 17:34).", Deane's David."
The italics are mine. These are some pretty endearing qualities of God our Shepherd. He literally watches over us all the time! He takes care of all of our needs, physical and emotional, and ensures we are are not in danger or in want. Shepherds are always overseers.
I love how David connected LORD and Shepherd. He recognized Him as the ultimate God, the one true God, the God who created him, yet also recognized Him in relationship with Him as not only the the ultimate authority figure and caretaker, but also as a friend and companion.
Shepherds are called to live sacrificially, just as our Great Shepherd did and does today for us, the sheep of His pasture.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." ~ John 10:11 (NIV)
Just as David knew he would not be in want with God as his Shepherd, we can be assured that the same holds true for us today.
The Hebrew word for want is chacer.
1) to lack, be without, decrease, be lacking, have a need
1) to lack
2) to be lacking
3) to diminish, decrease
b) (Piel) to cause to lack
c) (Hiphil) to cause to be lacking
With God, we can be assured that we will lack nothing, but the key is in realizing that we will lack nothing we need. In this day and age, anything we want (vs. need) is pretty much available, there for us to run out and purchase at our leisure, but what about the things only God can give us?
The gift of grace, the laughter of a child, the healing of a disease deemed incurable by man, security and faith, hope in an unstable world, wisdom found in the depths of His Word...I could go on and on.
How in the world does He meet all our needs? Through Jesus Christ, His Son.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
We don't have to worry about anything. God has us covered.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." ~ Luke 12:32 (NIV)
I can say with David, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." I am confident in God's ability to provide for all my needs. In Him, I want for nothing.