Jehovah Rohi - The Lord is My Shepherd
Topic: Trust Scripture: Psalm 23:1–:6
Jehovah Rohi -- The Lord is My Shepherd
Intro: So, as we continue in our series “The Names of God” knowing that Jehovah is the intimate name of God the existing onewho forms relationship with his people we have discovered that God shows his Characteristic to be Shalom (Peace) and Nissi (our victory and banner).
And today we learn of Jehovah Rohi—The Lord is My Shepherd.
Which literally means -- the Lord protects, provides, leads, guides and watches over his people. God takes care of us tenderly as a powerful and patient shepherd to his people.
This theme is throughout scripture,
Consider these references to God as Shepherd of his people:
"The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd3all my life to this day." (Genesis 48:15)
"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11)
"Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth." (Psalm 80:1)
You will experience no lack. Rohi. Shepherd.
But who even knows about shepherding?
What does a shepherd do?
For me I was a farmer that consisted of raising chickens and cows only. We would buy 100 chickens and raise them for food and 4-H. I would bathe them, blow dry their feathers, things like that. Chickens are dumb animals. Same for cows, ours were called steers because they were male cows who had been cut and they would always escape from our yard. We would walk them after school and we just couldn’t hold on and we would be running throughout the neighborhood collecting them. Farming is NOT shepherding.
Psalm 23 A Psalm of David.
23 The Lordis my shepherd; I shall not want.
The best known and loved passage about God the Shepherd is the Twenty-Third Psalm. It begins identifying Yahweh as "my shepherd." Let's use this psalm to examine some of the ways in which God cares for us: The basic premise is that since Yahweh is my shepherd, then I shall never be in need for anything. "Be in want" ischāsēr,"lack, have a need, be lacking.”
How interesting that this word looks so close to the word chaser because He is your shepherd you won’t have to chase after anything. Not fame, success, love, and money.
2 He makes me lie down (sprawl) in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul.
The Shepherd is leading to help the sheep find rest (quietness and rest), pasture, and water to meet their physical needs. "Leads" is nāhal, "lead with care, guide to a watering-place or station, and cause to rest there, lead, guide, refresh."9
"He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:3a). "Restore" is shûb, which here means figuratively, "refresh, restore," literally, "repair."10
For a sheep, this might include rescue from danger and then getting the animal back into good health through rest and recuperation.
For a person, it might include rescue from a messed up life, and the gradual restoration to wholeness through loving care. God is in the restoration and wholeness business. He wants you to be refreshed as you rest in him.
3 -- He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Literally, the shepherd has to clear out paths because of the dry seasons of the summer and find green pastures, and still waters, and quietness and rest to restore your soul.
Righteousness you shall pursue, right paths so that God gets a good reputation. Notice the reason that he leads us in these particular paths -- "for his name's sake," that is, because the Lord's reputation and character require that he lead in righteous ways.
We are tempted get off the trail by taking moral short-cuts,but our Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. (ex: speaking in our anger, following our lust, being unforgiving)
The fame our shepherdcauses us to want to make his name famous through us.
The question becomes how famous do you want to make Him?
Isaiah 26:8 Yes LORD walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
So many times, we want to act a certain type of way, whatever that way is (and we are proud of it because we stood up for ourselves at the detriment of running His name through the mud because of His sheep.) He wants to lead you through paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
You say you are his, let him lead you on paths of righteousness.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
The "valley of the shadow of death" could be rendered "darkest valley or thick gloom"
The shepherd will sometimes need to lead the flock through uncomfortable places to get them to the next pasture. One man early in the summer he would be given a flock and take it higher and higher into the Sierra to bring it to fresh, green pasture. Sometimes the trail between pasture inYosemite Valley and Toulumne Meadows might be terrifying to the sheep. They wouldn't know where he was going. If they had been people they would have second-guessed their shepherd: "Do you know where in the world you are going?" they might ask -- as we sometimes ask of God.
What encourages and comforts the sheep in the fearful darkness of this mountain canyon is the sight of the shepherd's rod and staff. They are the elements of protection that will ward off the wolf.
The sheep see the rod and they know that the shepherd will use it to protect them, even to the extent of putting his life at risk -- and they are comforted. Your Shepherd is committed to delivering you from your enemies and has indeed laid down his life for you in the battle for your soul.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;you anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.
The psalmist now strays from the sheep analogy, but Jehovah Rohi is still the subject of his thoughts:
The word for "table" (shūlchān) means properly "skin or leather mat" spread on the ground.13I imagine a sumptuous picnic set by a gracious host. Enemies are hiding in rocks around about, spying on the feast set for the guest by the host. But their presence doesn't ruin the party because of the host's loving attention. In the presence of enemies, we are able to enjoy Him.
When guests were welcomed in a Near East home it was polite to provide a basin for them to wash their feet, they would receive a kiss, and the host would pour fragrant olive oil on their hair (Luke 7:44-46). "My cup overflows," is a symbol of abundance.The host doesn't just pour it almost full, but overfull -- it's figurative, of course, not literal. God's love for us and provision for us is not meager or stingy, but liberal and abundant.
Surelygoodness and mercyshall follow me all the days of my life,and I shall dwell in the house of the LorDforever.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me," is the psalmist's firm assurance, since Yahweh is his Shepherd and Host. "Follow" is rādap, "be behind, follow after, pursue, persecute."14
In this context, enemies will not chase after him, but he will be pursued by goodness and mercy.(even though he is being followed by Saul…and a slew of enemies later on) What a positive, hopeful, wonderful promise. The psalmist is not a bitter pessimist, but a faith-filled, in-awe-of-God optimist.
"Forever"(NIV, KJV, NASB),"my whole life long"(NRSV), "for all time to come"(New Jerusalem Bible) translate two words: ´ōrek, "length"(from ´ārak, "to be long") and yôm,"day, time, year."Hebrew really has no synonym for "eternity" and "forever." But the phrase "to the length of days"
The story’s told of a group of well-known writers, musicians and actors who gathered in London for a night of mutual entertainment. They each put some money up as a prize for the one who could best entertain the group for the night. The evening oozed with talent. They sang, they played, they recited, they gave monologues. And last of all a prominent British actor stood up before the group of a hundred or so celebrities and recited the words of the 23rdPsalm. His enunciation and intonation was perfect. They were spellbound and when he finished they all agreed that he deserved the prize.
Just then, someone in the back of the room said, “Wait a minute. There’s one more who hasn’t done anything yet.” And he pointed to a little old man standing in the corner. The man said, “No way, “I’m not an entertainer. I’m just a friend of the host.” “Come on, do something,” they said and pushed him to the front of the room.
After a long pause he also began to recite Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” He went through the whole about the shepherd’s love and care and a holy hush came over the room. When he finished with, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” his face lit up. Everyone was moved, some to tears. And the British actor, who had just won the prize, took out the money and gave it to the old man and said, “Sir, that was moving.
I know the Psalm, but YOU KNOW THE SHEPHERD.
You Know Psalm 23, Do You Know the Shepherd?
There was a day when the rod and the staff (protection and guidance) of the shepherd were raised in the shape of a cross. And the good shepherd, Jesus Christ, gave his life for the sheep. He died in our place so that we could travel safely through the valley of this life into the next without fear. Is he your shepherd. Nothing can take me away from the shepherd. Nothing. Not even death itself. Because when that happens I’ll finally be home. I’ll leave the enemies behind and enter into the majesty of my eternal home with the shepherd forever. That’s what the future holds for me.