These eight words hold a great deal of truth and a great deal of encouragement, so I will start with the first part of the verse: The Lord is my Shepherd.
The word Shepherd is a noun “the act of taking care of sheep” and this image of God as a shepherd can be seen throughout the Old Testament. He used farmers, kings, prophets, wives and warriors to provide for and protect his people. That’s what shepherds do: they protect, provide and care for the sheep in their care; but not only the flock as a group but each one individually. I read an article where a shepherd said that is it vitally important to care for each sheep individually, to ensure the health of the entire flock.
I sometimes feel that God doesn’t see me. He loves me of course as part of His body, part of the collective but I wonder if He really sees and cares for me personally. In moments like that, Psalm 23:1 is a great reminder that this awesome God that I serve, the one that breathed life into dust and spoke this world into existence is MY shepherd. He sees me when I am hurt, he hears me when I call to Him and he picks me up when I stumble. I matter to him personally and so do you.
I also find it interesting that the word Shepherd can be used as a verb meaning “to guide and direct in a particular direction”. So not only does God ‘take care” of us, but He guides us to where we should go. His shepherding is not only to provide for our immediate needs, but to lead us on the path of righteousness because He is the only one who knows the way. As believers we are called to reflect Christ in our words and our actions, but we need the active presence of God in our lives in order for that to happen. God doesn’t just give us what we need and say ‘Ok, you figure this out.’ He goes before us and guides us in the right direction and as we journey with Him we become more aware of the indelible truth that with Him as our shepherd we don’t need to fear. He is our Shepherd and He will Shepherd us.
By Kalesha Peters