The Lord is my shepherd; Psalm 23a
In the first verse of Psalm 23 David identifies a personal and provisional relationship with the shepherd. The original Hebrew word רָעָה, is transliterated ra’ah and translated (in the KJV) “is my shepherd.” The word in the original means, “to tend.” Therefore the importance of the first few words explain that the shepherd is tending to the flock, and personally to David. We often think about our necessity to follow the Shepherd, and we should. But we must also recognize that the Lord is tending to us, a contrast to the perception of a self serving narcissistic, and demanding God. (A perception held by most atheists and humanists.)
The Lord provides an excellent example of His character and humility by identifying with the Shepherd metaphor. While it is important for us to serve God, David is making reference to the reality that the Lord is actually tending to (serving) him. A reciprocal relationship that benefits both parties. We experience the generous giving and forgivness of God. And he experiences fellowship with us. God leads and we follow. As a result we experience blessing and he enjoys blessing us. Once we follow the Shepherd our relationship only becomes more beautiful and personal.
John records the words of Christ, I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10.14) Why is this important for us? Christ claims to have a personal relationship with his sheep. And if you read John 10 in context you will see a perfect example of His tending (service) to the sheep. (Which I will elaborate on later.) What a remarkable thing, to be personally known and so well cared for. Especially when the tending is done by the Creator of all things, our Lord Jesus Christ. Whats more important, He tends to us despite our sinful condition. Who else has been so offended by you and I, yet responds with such great love and sacrifice?