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. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
He lifts me up when I get down,
He restoreth my soul.
He picks me up when I fall,
He watches over me in times of stress,
He doesn’t say, “You are the weakest link – goodbye.” He keeps following after us, drawing back into the straight and narrow.
I do not think I could relate to a fold of fleecy, white sheep who never face any troubles. I would not know what to do if I were part of a flock where the sheep smiled all day long, showing off pearly white teeth. I do not know if I could handle going to a church where nobody ever cried or experienced pain. I would go crazy if I lived among people who were never sick, never in need, never tempted, never depressed, never downcast or discouraged. If I were mixed in with that kind of flock, I would be a complete misfit, a black sheep. And I would be miserable, because my life is not like that at all.
We all have difficulties. I get downcast at times. I go through periods of discouragement. I have experienced times of great confusion. Do not misunderstand; I have God’s peace. But I do not carry a Colgate grin everywhere I go. Why? I have been through the mill. Often the trials of life do not make me happy.
I have been on mountaintops and down in the valleys. I have been through times of testing, trial and sorrow. On many occasions, God has had to come after me. He has had to pick me up, bind up my wounds and give me a bath.
Where are you Lord? David asked, in Psalm 43:2 – For You are the God of my strength; why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? This man could not help wondering why he faced such trouble from his enemies. Yet David identified clearly what his trouble was – “This is an oppression of the enemy.”
Every time I set out to do something I believe will have an impact for eternity on people’s lives I can predict what is going to happen. The devil is going to come in like a flood and seek to overwhelm me.
At other times, I experience great physical and mental oppressions for no apparent reason. I believe this is just what David was going through when he wrote this verse. He had been assailed by something unexplainable, some oppression of soul that had no clear origin. He had no idea why it was happening. That is why he asked God why he felt so cast off. Something had overcome him, and he had no idea what to do about it.
Perhaps you have been through this. You woke up one day with a cloud of depression hovering over you. You had no idea where it came from, or why it fell upon you. You thought, “I’ve never felt this down or condemned in my life. Why is this happening to me now? What’s going on?” You examined your heart endlessly. Yet you could not get to the bottom of what you were going through or why.
Every true follower of Jesus faces this ordeal. David was a true man of God; yet he was unable to explain the sudden despair that flooded his soul. It came upon him at a time when his soul was hungering deeply for the Lord.
David was well acquainted with oppression. At various times, he had been physically wounded, diseased in body, broken in spirit, cast off of Israel’s throne, driven out of Jerusalem, scattered to the hills, lost. He also was corrupted by grievous sins and powerful, overwhelming lusts. At times David was forced to wander across the land, fleeing across valleys, hiking up hillsides and hiding in caves.
But David had a caring, loving shepherd. Each time David was battered and wounded, Jehovah Rohi went after him, picked him up and carried him to a quiet place of rest. Then the Lord made David lie down, so his soul could be restored.
God’s sheep are no different today. Time after time, our shepherd comes after us, fetches us and takes us to a place of rest. He continually makes us lie down for a time of healing and restoration. Yet we so easily move away from the Lord’s rest. We fail to realize that the Lord’s rest is like the food we nourish our bodies with daily; we cannot retain its value unless we keep coming back to the table.
Exodus 29:45 – And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
The Hebrew word for “dwell” here is “shekinah,” meaning to abide or to settle down beside. This word signifies not just a passing presence, but a permanent one, a presence that never leaves. In short, the Shekinah glory of God is not a vanishing imprint that disappears from our hearts like invisible ink. No, it is something God imprints permanently on our soul. It is His very near and eternal presence.
This picture here is glorious. Our shepherd offers to come to us in the midst of our pain and depressed condition, and to sit by our side. He promises to bind up our wounds and strengthen the parts of us that have become sick and diseased.
That is the Shekinah glory of God; the abiding, everlasting presence of the Lord. We often experience it when we are in the midst of trouble. Our great shepherd tells us, “I want to restore you. I’m going to do it by being present with you even in the valley and shadow of death. My presence will be with you through everything the devil throws at you. Even if you try to run from Me, I am going to chase after you. When I catch you, I am going to take you in My arms and carry you back to My rest. I will bind up your wounds and heal all your sicknesses.”
Scripture tells us the following about our one true shepherd.
- Jesus states in John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
- Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His. And, let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
- Jesus declares in John 10:27-28 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither any man pluck them out of My hand.
Simply put, our great shepherd knows who His sheep are. David was familiar with this aspect of the Lord’s character because He had experienced it personally. Throughout the Psalms we read:
- Psalm 103:14 – For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
- Psalm 44:21 – Shall not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.
- Psalm 94:11 – The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
David was saying in essence, “The Lord knows what I am really like, deep down.” David realized that God knew his heart often strayed from His divine love and rest. Yet even though David knew this, he fully understood that his shepherd still loved him.
By his own admission, David was a man whose iniquities piled up so high, they went over his head. As he faced the long list of his trespasses, David said it became a burden too heavy for him to carry.
Psalm 38:3-4 – There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
Do these sound like the words of a healthy, fleecy-white, strong, obedient sheep? Hardly. David continued:
Psalm 38:5-10 – My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation; and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groaned because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hid from You. My heart pant, my strength fails me; as for the light of mine eyes, it also has gone from me.
This was obviously the cry of a troubled man. As David acknowledged:
Psalm 69:5 – O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from You.
In Psalm 119, after writing 175 “spiritually correct” verses extolling God’s word and faithfulness, David concludes with this verse:
Psalm 119:176 – I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.
David is saying, in essence, “Please Lord, seek me out, the way a shepherd searches for a lost sheep. In spite of all my biblical knowledge, I have strayed from Your love. I have lost the sense of rest I once had in You. All my plans have failed. Now I realize I am totally helpless. Come to me Father. Seek me out in this awful, dry place. I cannot find You on my own. You must find me. I still believe Your word is true.
You cry out:
Psalm 13:5-6 – But I have trust in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 3:4-6 – I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about.