I’m excited to welcome Karen for this edition of Word Nerd Wednesday as she leads us to explore what it means when God is referred to as Jehovah Raah.
Dandy and Herb were completely dependent on me to care for them. They needed me to feed them, to protect them from coyotes, to take them for walks and exercise them, to give them water. Not only were they dependent on me, but they had a connection with me. I became sick one week, and my family had to fill in as shepherd to my sheep. I never will forget watching my parents try to take Herb for a walk. Herb would balk, his feet looked like they had been super glued to the ground. As my dad would try to lead him, it would look more like Herb being drug through the yard. Poor sheep!
One day, when I was finally allowed to go outside, I sat on the front doorstep. When Herb saw me, he came running, dragging my dad through the yard until my dad finally let go of Herb’s leash. Herb ran to the stairs where I sat and put his hooves on my shoulders. He was incredibly excited to see me. Herb and I had a bond with one another. It went far beyond me taking care of his needs. We were friends.
Today’s word is Jehovah Raah. The chief meaning of Jehovah means “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests to “become” or “to become known” which denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Raah means shepherd or one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture. An extended translation of this word is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people. When the two words are combined it can be translated as “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “The Lord, my Friend.” (Blue Letter Bible)
In one of the most widely known Bible passages in the Bible, we find Jehovah Raah. Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd, which is better translated, Jehovah Raah.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even 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 overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23
David penned this Psalm, and he knew all too well what it was like to be a shepherd. Throughout Israel, David led his sheep to find grazing pastures. His sheep depended on him to find food for them. There was a problem though. Israel was mountainous. To find green pastures for his sheep, David often had to lead his sheep through the valleys. In the valleys, his sheep were likely to encounter wild animals. The valleys were not a safe place for the sheep, but their shepherd was vigilant in the valleys to make sure they protected their sheep. If the sheep tried to wander off, the shepherd knew it was better for the sheep to stay close where they could be protected. The valley was an unavoidable place, but the sheep would have to go through the valleys to get to the excellent grazing grounds. David treated his sheep like they were grand prize sheep protecting them and leading them to green pastures.
Our Heavenly Father thinks we are grand prize sheep. Not only does He think we are grand prize sheep, He desires us to come running to Him. The picture of Herb running to the stairs and throwing his front hooves on my shoulders is the same picture God wants for us.
Do you run to your Father and throw your arms open wide? Or do you find yourself a bit stubborn? As David so beautifully wrote about how the shepherd protects and leads his sheep through the valleys so that they could find the green pastures, God does the same for us. Do we trust God in the valleys or do we try to run away? Can we remind ourselves that to find the green pastures, we must walk through the valleys?
Will we allow God to be Jehovah Raah in our lives?Is God really your Shepherd? #wordnerdwednesday #JehovahRaah @Karen_Kay_Smith Click To Tweet
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children.
What started out as communicating medical facts, has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. Follow her journey through her blog and become part of the community.