Tuesday July 28 2020

Yahweh Ra’ah

The Good Shepherd

Psalm 23 (The Passion Translation)

David’s poetic praise to God

 

The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.

I always have more than enough. 

He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.

That’s where he restores and revives my life.

He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure

and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness

so that I can bring honour to his name.

Lord, even when your path takes me through

the valley of deepest darkness,

fear will never conquer me, for you already have!

You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.

Your authority is my strength and my peace.

The comfort of your love takes away my fear.

I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

You become my delicious feast

even when my enemies dare to fight.

You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;

you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.

So why would I fear the future?

For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.

Then afterward, when my life is through,

I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!   

 

 

The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy against the “shepherds of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:2). The religious leaders of Israel had been seeking their own advantage rather than taking care of the people of Israel, their flock. God lashed out against this corruption.

 

Sheep and shepherds are common metaphors in the Old Testament. God is often mentioned as the shepherd of his people Israel. Only once, though, do we find the name Yahweh Ra’ah, meaning “The LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).

 

The Hebrew word ra’ah, meaning “shepherd,” describes one who tends, leads, feeds, and protects his flock of sheep. As a shepherd cares for his flock, so Yahweh Ra’ah cares for his people, providing for all their needs and guiding and protect-ing them. Yahweh Ra’ah cares for his covenant people as a flock and as individual, precious sheep.

 

The closing verses of Ezekiel 34 make clear the magnificent ways in which Yahweh Ra’ah promises to care for his sheep. He doesn’t disappoint. And in the New Testament, Jesus pro-claims himself to be Yahweh Ra’ah, saying, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:14).

 

The Lord is your good shepherd. Lean on him, for he protects and provides and cares for you.

 

Prayer: Good Shepherd, you provide for our needs, guide, and protect us. Help us to take comfort in your care today and always. Amen.