Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 14: Jehovah Raah (The Lord is My Shepherd)

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

As we have seen before, Jehovah indicates "The Existing One" or "Lord". The term "Jehovah Raah" (or Rohi) is first used in Genesis 48:15 when Israel was blessing his son Joseph. "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day." The first use of the word God is Elohim, but his second use is Elohim Raah. The word Raah indicates a shepherd who consistently provides feed and pasture for his flock. When Israel says that God has "fed me all my life long unto this day", he is saying that God has been faithful to provide for him. God's provision has not been sporadic or intermittent. His provision has been faithful, every day, all the days of his life.

In Psalm 23, David speaks of the Lord as his RĂ´'eh, his shepherd, and states plainly, "I shall not want." He describes the tender care of his Lord as both peaceful and bounteous. Ezekiel, too, describes the tender care of the Shepherd, who not only seeks His flock, but also delvers them from all the places where they have been scattered. He feeds His sheep in a "fat" pasture, one with an abundance of excellent grazing. (Ezekiel 34:11-15)

This word, Raah, can, by extension, be translated as friend. "The Lord is my friend" presents a beautiful picture of the intimacy that we can have with our Lord. He is our faithful, never failing, Friend, the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Shepherds must have sheep, and for the Shepherd to adequately care for His sheep, those sheep must follow Him, obey Him, allow Him to care for them as He sees fit. There can be no wandering. The sheep must trust the Shepherd and accept the care He provides. Sometimes the best pasture is on the highest mountain, and the way can be difficult, but the pasture at the end of the climb will be worth the difficulty required to access it. 

If I want Jehovah to be my Raah, my Shepherd, then I must be the kind of lamb that follows, no matter the path. Our Shepherd is always faithful, but are we? 

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes my lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I 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 have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

                                      Psalm 23:1-6 NASB