Names of God – The Lord is My Shepherd

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Rohi – The Lord is My Shepherd

 Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. 

This renowned Psalm was written by King David, and its most famous passage is contained in the opening verse:  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

In this brief verse, David gives us yet another reflection of the Lord’s character and nature.  David continues to develop this idea of the Lord as shepherd throughout the rest of the Psalm.  In the next verse, he writes, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters.

What an idyllic picture.  As we read this verse, we envision a flock of fleecy, white sheep, dotting a tranquil, green landscape.  These well-fed creatures graze on the plentiful grass surrounding them in a vast pasture.  Or, they lie about on a lush, green carpet of grass, napping peacefully.  Overhead, the sun is shining brightly.  On the nearby hillside, a grove of tall, leafy trees blow gently in the breeze.  Down below, a beautiful woods is reflect in a pool of cool, clear water.

The whole scene seems so pleasant, peaceful and carefree.  Not a creature in sight has a care in the world.  Why?  Sitting on the plush grass of the gently sloping hillside, overseeing all that goes on below, is a shepherd.  This shepherd is a picture of calm.  He spends his time meditating on the Lord’s blessings.  Occasionally, he gazes out at his flock to make sure all is well.  The shepherd does not hear a single cry or sigh from the peaceful fold in his care.  Instead, he sees below him a contented flock of rested, satisfied sheep, creatures who fully enjoy their peaceful surroundings.

I ask you, what is wrong with this picture?  Simply this:  life is nothing like this image of idyllic existence.  It is my sincere belief that this tranquil picture is not the image David intended to put forth in Psalm 23 – not at all.

The truth is, even the saintliest of God’s people are a motley bunch.  With that in mind, I want to paint for you another picture of the sheepfold David describes here.  Sheep are lying about in green grass beside still waters.  But, according to Isaiah, this flock includes lambs that are frail, weak and unsteady.  Some are barely able to walk.  Others are in deep pain.  A few are pregnant.  Still others have to nurse their restless young.

Isaiah 40:11 – 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.

Isaiah is speaking here of Jesus Christ, our Jehovah Rohi.  Our Lord Jesus is our shepherd.  He came not to tend just healthy, strong sheep, but also those who are sick, broken, diseased and weak.

God condemned Israel’s ministers because they did not fulfill this role for the sheep under their care.  This aspect of ministry was so important in the Lord’s eyes, He spoke His displeasure through every major prophet.

Ezekiel 34:4 – The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

Ezekiel 34:6 – My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

Jeremiah 50:6 – My people have been lost sheep.  Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains.  They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray.

Note the last verse.  Who is Isaiah talking about here?  He is talking about you, about me, about every person who belongs in the Lord’s sheepfold.  Do not think the prophet is exaggerating for effect.  Mark it down:  every sheep in the shepherd’s fold has gone astray.  Yet, each of us is still in the fold, because our gracious, merciful, loving shepherd has come after us and found us.

Just look around you for a moment at all the sheep you know in the church of Jesus Christ.  What kind of flock are you?  Are you all lying down in green pastures, drinking pure, cool water?  Are you all perfectly contented, healthy, happy, and peaceful?

No way!  You have in your midst believers who keep stumbling and falling.  At times you wonder if they are ever going to be strong enough to walk straight.

Others among us are sick and diseased.  They have drunk polluted water from the well of some false shepherd.  Still others are walking about wounded.  Some were crippled by a bleeding hind leg their shepherd had to pull out of the lion’s mouth.  Others were crippled by bad habits and lust.  Still others among us are naked.  They have been shorn or fleeced by false shepherds. 

All these sick, broken sheep have been brought back to the fold by the shepherd Himself.  Some were so maimed, disabled, hurt and disoriented, Jesus had to put them on His shoulders and carry them all the way back to the flock.

That’s the role of our great shepherd.  Scripture describes this wonderful trait of our Lord even more clearly.

Ezekiel 34:11 – For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

The sheep Ezekiel describes here obviously have wandered away.  Yet the Lord still calls them His sheep.  He willingly goes after them.

Ezekiel 34:12 – As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

Ezekiel is speaking here of sheep who have been through troubled times.

Ezekiel 34:16 – I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.

Ezekiel 34:22-23 – therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—my servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Once again, God speaks clearly about setting up one true shepherd to watch over His people.  Of course, he is referring to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the good shepherd who promises to feed His flock.

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