In short, Jehovah-Rohi means God our Shepherd. David uses this name for God in Psalm 23. David was a shepherd and therefore, he knew how to protect and provide as a shepherd. His writing here teaches us so much about this name of God. To sum it up, if Jesus is your Shepherd, you have everything you need.
Psalm 23:1-2 says, “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.” Notice the word “is” at the very beginning. God is not just the God of the past. He is God in the present! David also refers to Him as “my shepherd.” David knew God personally and because of that he had all he needed. This verse does not mean we get anything we want, but that the Lord is everything we need and more! You may be thinking, “I don’t know how I am going to make it.” If the Lord is your shepherd, you are going to make it! David said, “I have been young and now I am old but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread” (Ps. 37:25). Green grass is not just something to graze on but to snooze on. It is a place of rest. Still waters are what sheep need. They don’t like rough water because if their wool coats get wet, they can easily drown. David continues, “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (v. 3). Restore means to “bring back” the soul. We need to be recharged, cleaned up, and put back together. God will also lead and guide us in what is right. Never be afraid to trust a future you don’t know to a God you do know. It is better to ask God to direct your path than to correct your mistake! God guides us in paths of grace that lead to glory!
Not only does God meet our essential needs, but also our emotional needs. David said, “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” (v. 4). What do you do when you feel trapped, lonely, hopeless? Keep on walking! Don’t run or quit but keep going. You may be going through things that do not make sense. Remember, it did not come to stay it came to pass. Valleys have an entrance and exit. Why would a shepherd lead his sheep into a valley filled with danger? To get to some better place! Sometimes God must lead you through the valley to get you where you need to be! Don’t mistake the process for the purpose. The process is temporary. The purpose is eternal. You can’t hurry up the process. The only way out is through. I can do all things through Christ. Shadows can’t hurt you. They can be scary, but where there is a shadow, there has to be light! With God’s presence comes His power. His rod is for protection and his staff is for correction. Verse 5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies….” He has made room for me to lie down and prepared a table for me to eat. God is a great host. He can put on a spread, banquet, feast like no one else. What happens at the table? Prayer, nourishment, conversation, storytelling, laughter, encouragement, fellowship, connection. You can have a place at God’s table. “…You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over” (v. 5). Insects drive sheep crazy. If nose flies get near their head, they will beat their head against the ground. They won’t eat. Ever feel like you are beating your head against the wall? Is something or someone driving you crazy? Have you lost your appetite? Stop letting people get in your head! God will not let the irritations of life drive you crazy! God’s anointing will kill the larva and bring healing. Not only that, but David says his cup was running over. He was full. There was an overflow of blessing. Go to the Shepherd and fill up!
David concludes, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (v. 6). We are satisfied in life, safe in death, secure for eternity. “Surely” is not a question mark but an exclamation mark! For centuries pastors and poets have referred to goodness and mercy as the hounds of heaven. “Follow” is translated pursue. The shepherd is leading the way out front, and two sheep dogs are bringing up the rear. There is goodness for the times we do right and mercy for the times we do wrong. Some of us can give testimony that we went astray but God in His loving kindness sent the hounds of heaven to find us! He knows His sheep by name, address, and he has your number! God will not let you go. He will never stop loving you! David’s cup was running over and he found out it is sweeter at the bottom of the cup! He was looking forward to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever! The world says all good things must come to an end. Not true! “When we’ve been there 10,000 years…we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” Don’t you want to be a part of something bigger than you that will outlast your life on earth?
Ultimately, Jehovah-Rohi is all about Jesus! Matthew 2:6 says, “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah…out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” Jesus saw the crowds and He was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd (Mt. 9:36). In the end of time, Matthew 25:32 says, “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Who is your Shepherd? There are many resources, but only one source, one Shepherd. In Him we find all we need.