The name Jehovah-rohi comes from two Hebrew words meaning 1) Yahweh, the existing One, and 2) to shepherd, to tend a flock, to graze, to rule, to associate with, to be a friend, to be companions, and to be a special friend.
God has always shepherded His people. As an example, Jehovah-rohi (or Jehovah-ra`ah) watched over His people Israel, protecting them from the plagues He sent on Egypt, leading them out of Egypt and through the wilderness, and providing for their needs while in the wilderness.
Shepherds are more than watchdog-protectors for their flocks.
So, what distinguishes a good shepherd? He…
* disciplines and corrects them
* protects the sheep while they sleep
* goes ahead of sheep and prepares the path
* leads them to fresh pastures and fresh water
* comforts them when they are hurt or fearful
* knows the sheep’s needs better than they do
* keeps sheep moving so they don’t get into a rut
* keeps sheep from fighting, from hurting each other
* searches for a lost sheep and rejoices when finding it
* is pleased when sheep are contented, well-fed, and safe
* anoints them with oil to heal an injury or prevent disease
* always watchful for predators and defends sheep against them
* is gentle yet firm while shearing them, watching closely for injury or disease
* knows the things that make them sick or hurts them and guides them away from those things
* loves his sheep and continually encourages an intimate relationship with them so that
they will develop trust and know his voice
* sacrifices his life for them.
We find so much of this in Psalm 23. Adding in some of the definitions, we might look at it this way…
*The Lord is my Shepherd = The Lord is my guide, my companion
* I shall not want = I shall not lack; I am content
* He makes me to lie down = He causes me to be at rest
* in green pastures = giving me nourishment
* He leads me = He guides me with care
* beside still waters = alongside peaceful refreshment
* He restores my soul = He draws me in, to return me back to the point of my departure
* He leads me in paths of righteousness = He guides me in ways of rightness
* even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = even though I move through the narrow path of death’s dark shadow
* I will fear no evil = I will not be afraid of evil; I will have confidence and trust in my Shepherd
* for You are with me = because You are by my side
* Your rod = Your discipline and protection
* Your staff = Your guidance and support
* they comfort me = showing me compassion, bringing me to repentance, and giving me consolation
* You prepare a table before me = You arrange and spread out a feast of Your fellowship at Your table
* in the presence of mine enemies = in the face of the one that attempts to distress, oppress, and afflict me
* You anoint my head with oil = You soothe me and satisfy me with the oil of Your Spirit
* My cup runs over = You fill my life, saturating it to overflowing with provisions
* goodness and mercy shall follow me = Your kindness and favor pursue me
* and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever = and I will inhabit Your household for eternity.
Sheep must have a leader for they must be led and not driven. They must be told what to do and where to go, otherwise, they will wander off and get lost. They need to be watched over and cared for constantly. Hence, the need for a shepherd.
Isaiah prophesied of One coming as the Good Shepherd, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” (Is. 40:11 NKJV)
When this Shepherd came, He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep,” (John 10:11 NKJV) and “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me,” (John 10:14 Amp) and “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28 NKJV)
Do you know the Good Shepherd and all that this provides for you? Do you know Him, recognizing His voice as He calls out your name? Do you know His peace, protection, provision, guidance, and comfort?
I pray you can often be found lingering at the feet of the Good Shepherd, awaiting His gentle touch and encouraging words that bring total trust and comfort.