We began a study of Psalm 23 last night in an H3 Bible study that I lead. There were a number of great insights that we pulled from the first two verses. Let me focus for just a bit on Psalm 23:1.
First, we note that the psalmist referred to the Lord as a shepherd. The Scriptures do not often refer to God in this way (see Genesis 48:15; 49:24; Jeremiah 31:10). The term was commonly used for rulers in the ancient Near East. The rarity of its use in reference to God is significant and should catch our eye.
Why? A shepherd was indispensable to the flock. The sheep saw him as a constant companion, a guide, a provider, a physician, and a defender. In the same way, the Lord is to be all of those things to us. And He is, if we know Him as the psalmist did: "the Lord is my shepherd." Note the word "my." It denotes an intimate relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. It's a reflection of the relationship David had with Yahweh, Israel's covenant God. It's the type of relationship God wants to have with us.
Someone once said, "I would rather have less and have the Shepherd than to have more without Him." How about you?