Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." Rô'eh from which Raah derived, means "shepherd" in Hebrew. A shepherd is one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture.1
While growing up my husband’s family raised sheep. Because of this he easily identifies with why God often compares us with them. They truly are a helpless animal. They are totally dependent on their caretaker. They do not learn well, they are practically blind and do not hear well. They really have no sense of danger and will just wonder off getting lost. In the word’s of my husband, “Sheep are stupid animals!”
Sheep are fearful animals and can become confused very easily. It has been known to drown themselves or fall of cliffs. In fact, they have been known to plunge blindly off a cliff following one after another. Sheep can not survive without a shepherd.
Taking care of sheep is not easy, especially during biblical times. They shepherd would often need to battle wolves, lions and other wild animals. (1 Samuel 17:34-35). A good shepherd would be totally prepared to lay down his life in order to protect his flock.
Isaiah says in chapter 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way”. Our own nature has a strong tendency to go astray (Romans 7:5), following the lusts of our flesh and eyes and pursuing the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Just like sheep we are so often prone wander away from the Shepherd. In our flesh we pursue our own desires, rejecting God and sin against Him. We are just like sheep who are vulnerable to dangerous enemy attacks without the protection of our Shepherd.
In John 10:15-18 we read that Jesus declares that He is our Shepherd and He says that He is willing to lay down His life for us, His sheep. Because we are basically just like sheep, we need a shepherd to watch over us and protect us. But not just any shepherd will do, we need Jesus.
Jesus is the great Shepherd who did indeed lay down His life for us so that we could have eternal life. Jesus, our Shepherd, leads us, watches over us, protects us. He makes sure that we are well fed and has the basic needs of life. He also feeds us spiritually. And because He is our Shepherd, we know Him. We know his voice, He knows us and we follow Him. (John 10:25-28)
Just like sheep who hear the voice of their shepherd follow him we need to listen to our Shepherd, Jesus Christ—in His Word and follow Him. We need to trust in His voice even if we can’t see. And we need to rest assured that when one of us wander off and get lost He will leave the others to go find them. (Luke 15”3-7)
Oh God you are my Jehovah Raah, My Great Shepherd. Thank you for giving Your life for me so that I might live forever with you. Thank You for Your constant watchfulness over every aspect of my life. You provide all my needs, you keep me safe and You fight the enemy who seeks to destroy me. Oh God, help me to stay attuned to Your voice so that I might not wander away from Your leading. Amen.
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