The Lord is My Shepherd
Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever beheld lies in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland. The vibrant green countryside in each of these countries is lined with ancient gray stone walls, dotted with verdant leafy trees and placid ponds, quiet streams and woolly sheep…rolling hills and pastures as far as the eye can see. There is a tranquil solitude that rests in these places and that sets one’s soul at ease.
When I consider this, it is not hard to imagine the first part of Psalm 23 and its promise of green pastures and quiet waters, and although it is easy to focus on this part of the psalm, basking in the promised peace found there, and even cling with hope to the rest of the psalm, there is much more to it. In fact, here, gently interwoven into this song, is a revelation of God’s character and a revelation of another of God’s names:
“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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 overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
The jewel nestled in this beautiful and promising psalm is Jehovah Raah–The Lord is my Shepherd. And this far-reaching, all-encompassing name does not just mean “The Lord is my Shepherd”; it actually has an extended meaning. Jehovah Raah can also be translated as “The Lord is my Friend” or “The Lord is my Companion”. When you combine the idea that the Lord is not only the One who gives you rest, refreshes you, guides you, lovingly chastises you, protects you, prospers you, and gives you a lasting legacy, but He does all of those things while being your constant companion and friend, it is wondrous.
Today, consider your Shepherd, Jehovah Raah, and the loving friendship and companionship that He freely offers you, His sheep.