Names of God Bible Studies
David rests upon Jehovah Roi - The Lord is my Shepherd
by I Gordon
Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
We come now to the last in our series on the name and character of God and the name before us today is Jehovah Roi - the Lord my Shepherd! This name comes from a Psalm that requires no introduction. It is, arguably, the most well know chapter in the Bible! It is David's great shepherd Psalm, Psalm 23!
I have previously written studies on both Psalm 23 and Jesus' statement 'I AM the good Shepherd' so I'm not going to just repeat myself here. (Well, maybe a little!) Those studies will have more details on the great shepherd that we serve so I encourage you to read them. But we have to have something for this study right? So we'll do a quick overview of how David came to know of the Lord as Jehovah Roi - through many valley's, cave and times of need! And then, we'll do a quiz. Yes, you heard me correctly... a test. You will be tested, using Psalm 23, on all the names of God that we have learnt so far. I bet the thought of a test excites you no end! : )
A short background to Psalm 23
Psa 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. (3) He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. (4) 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. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. (6) Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
As stated previously, this is a fantastic Psalm that is loved and known the world over. It is short at only 6 verses and probably didn't take David long to write it. Yet it took a lifetime of experiences with the Lord to be able to pen such words!
J.Veron McGee writes well on this Psalm saying:
"It is not the language of philosophy. It is not the language of theology. It is not a legal or scientific document. It is sublimely simple and simply sublime... Dr. Frank Morgan has called this "The Song of the Old Shepherd." I like that, and I agree with him. David the king never forgot David the shepherd boy. In Psalm 23 you do not have the musings of a green, inexperienced lad but the mature deliberations of a ripe experience. You see, David, when he came close to the end of his life, looked back upon his checkered career. It was then that he wrote this psalm. The old king on the throne remembered the shepherd boy. Life had beaten, battered, baffled, and bludgeoned this man. He was a hardened soldier, a veteran who knew victory, privation, hardship. He knew song and shadow. He was tested and tried. Therefore in Psalm 23 we do not have the theorizing of immaturity but fruit and the mature judgment born of a long life."
So looking at the Psalm we see that on the one hand David speaks of green pastures. Yet on the other he speaks of valleys of death. On the one hand he speaks of quiet waters. On the other, being in the presence of his enemies. He knew and had experienced it all. Yet through the bliss and the trials, David experienced Jehovah Roi with him and that was what made the difference. 'The Lord my Shepherd is with me' he could write, 'so I will fear no evil'. Have you experienced that? What do you think were some of the experiences that David had which taught him so much about this great Shepherd who watches over the lives of all that are His?
David's background in experiencing Jehovah Roi
As the aged David looked back over his life he could see the many times that Jehovah Roi had cared and upheld him. So what do you think he was thinking about? Here are some initial thoughts that come to my mind and could well have been in his mind as he penned this Psalm...
His experiences as a young shepherd who cared for the sheep entrusted to his care and protected them from the bear and the lion! (1 Sam 17:34-37)
His experience with the larger two legged bear who defied the armies of Israel - and the amazing victory God gave him then over that giant Goliath! (1 Sam 17:45)
His short-lived fame before quickly fleeing for his life from the hand of a jealous and javelin throwing King Saul... Yet, while out in the wilderness, living in caves and uncertainty, God was with him the whole way, the great Shepherd preparing David for what was to come! Many of David's Psalms came out of the questions and difficulty of this period of his life. (For example, see Psalms 57, 59, and 142)
His rise to be King over all Israel! David himself would become Israel's great shepherd putting into practice the very lessons that God, the One true Shepherd, had taught him.
His enemies that rose up against him. While nations rose against Israel and were were defeated by David and his amazing men, there was one enemy that hurt more than all others... for this enemy came from his own flesh - the betrayal and subsequent downfall of his own dear son Absalom! Yet God remained close even when his own family betrayed him. (2 Sam 18:32-33, Psalm 3)
And maybe David thought of his later years. How God had brought him through so many trials, so many enemies, so many dealings... yet he could rejoice in this Shepherd who had held him and would not let him go. And thus, as he wrote in another Psalm:
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. (Psa 37:23-26)
Psalm 23 - I shall not want
So David experienced Jehovah Roi, his Shepherd, in so many ways. What about you? Are you learning from this One who upholds his own in their journey through life? As we read Psalm 23 we can see that David started the Psalm by linking these two thoughts together - 'The LORD is my Shepherd' so 'I shall not want'. Please have a look at Psalm 23 again and see if you can see all the ways that David came to learn that through Jehovah Roi, he would not lack. Please read it and think before looking below. I'll give you some time... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Ok. I can't wait any longer!
Arno C Gaebelein said (and I've made some small modifications here) that a good way to read this Psalm is by asking the question, 'What shall I not want?' This Psalm gives a great summary of the wonderful provision of God, as Jehovah Roi, seen below.
I shall not want for:
Rest -- for He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
Peace -- for He leads me beside the still waters.
Forgiveness -- for He restores my soul.
Guidance -- for He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
Companionship -- for you are with me.
Comfort -- for your rod and Thy staff comfort me.
Provision -- for Thou prepare a table before me.
Joy -- You anoint my head with oil and my cup runs over.
Everything in time -- for goodness and mercy shall follow me.
Everything in eternity -- for I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Ok... you wanted it, you asked for it, you got it!.. Test time!
I'm going to close this study, and the study on the names of God in general, with a test. Psalm 23 is the IDEAL place to take this test. Previously we have learnt about many different names of God and what they mean for us as believers. Specially, we have explored the following:
Jehovah Jireh - Our Provider
Jehovah Rapha - Our Healer
Jehovah Nissi - Our Banner
Jehovah Shalom - Our Peace
Jehovah Tsidkenu - Our Righteousness
Jehovah Shammah - Our present Lord
Jehovah Roi - Our Shepherd
So here comes the test. Don't peak below until you have read Psalm 23 again! Or at least don't peek at the right hand column. That made you peek didn't it? Try to see how each portion of the scripture (in the left column below) speaks of our Lord in some way. For example when David says 'I shall not want' which aspect/name of God is this portraying? I'll give you this one - It is Jehovah Jireh for He is our provider. Also note that some questions have more than one answer.
Ok so here is the test. I enjoyed open book tests the best at school. But tests that come with the answers? Unheard of... Best of all!
|Psalm 23 Scripture||Name and Character of God Revealed?|
|The LORD is my shepherd||Jehovah Roi - The great Shepherd of the sheep|
|I shall not want.||Jehovah Jireh - Our provider!|
|He makes me lie down in green pastures||Again Jehovah Jireh, our provider. And Jehovah Shalom - Our peace.|
|He leads me beside quiet waters.||Definitely Jehovah Shalom - Peace!|
|He restores my soul||Jehovah Rapha - Our healer and restorer|
|He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake||Jehovah Tsidkenu - Our righteousness|
|Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil||Again, Jehovah Shalom - Peace instead of fear in difficult times|
|For You are with me||Jehovah Shammah - He who is there present with us|
|Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me||Jehovah Shalom - Peace|
|You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies||Jehovah Nissi - Our victor and banner|
|You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows||Jehovah Jireh - Our provider|
|Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life||All of them! - Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Roi, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah Rapha|
|And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.||Finally - In HIS presence for all time - Jehovah Shammah - The One who is present and there with His people!|
I hope you have enjoyed and benefited from these studies concerning the nature and character of the Lord Almighty!