Monday Meditation: “I Shall Not Want” (Kuyper)

This is a very good one month devotional on the Psalms: Ever in Thy Sight by Abraham Kuyper. It’s one of those daily devotionals that I end up reading in a week or two because it is so good. And it’s one that you can read more than once because it is quite rich and thoughtful. There’s no fluff in it! Here’s a good one of Kuyper’s meditations on a phrase in Psalm 23: I shall not want (ESV) or I lack nothing (NET).

“I shall not want!” This definitely is not to say that you have here a promise that you will bathe in luxury. My dear brother or sister, it might well be that you have to stand in the fiery furnace like Shadrach did. But it is a promise that even in that kind of oven you “will not want.” It is even possible that your life is one long succession of disappointments, of suffering poverty, of bitter pain in your heart. It is possible that God has destined you to demonstrate to Satan that however much poverty, suffering, or humiliation you endure, he knows how to nurture your faith and maintain your joy as his child. The Lord God is mysterious in his ways. He causes some to be blind, others to be deaf, and still others to be emotionally ill. But all of these serve his inscrutable purposes. And the only thing of which people can be sure is that in their suffering or in their rejoicing they will lack nothing in dealing with their situation.

…”I shall not want!” may never be construed as a fortress to which we can flee to avoid suffering. The affirmation should only be taken as a sure promise that we will be able to endure it. I would never say that we can endure it to assure us that we will enjoy a happy old age. No, we are enabled to endure it so that we might enter an eternal day following the dawn of our eternal morning.

“I shall not want!” ultimately means simply this: God will never fail us. In God we have the highest, holiest source of all that’s good. So what do we really have to complain about?

Kuyper, Abraham. Ever in Thy Sight: 31 Devotions on the Psalms. Trans. James A. De Jong. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020. Print.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015