Updated: Jun 16, 2020
If I’m being honest there was a time in my life I was rather cavalier about God’s name Jehovah Roi. Growing up in the church, my familiarity of Psalm 23 made the idea of God as my Shepherd rather commonplace for me. However, as I've studied His names in recent years I’ve learned there is so much power in knowing Him as our Jehovah Roi. I believe it’s imperative that we understand the full implications of this name, claiming Him as our Good Shepherd on a daily basis. When we do, we will come to understand His heart for us on a much deeper level, thriving in His great love for us!
Isaiah 53:6 gives us context for why this name is so important to us. “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” Yes, like sheep we have, and will, wander off and we need to be found by Him. We need to recognize ourselves as sheep or our spiritual lives will be sorely lacking. Why? Because our dependence on Him (just as sheep are reliant on their shepherd) is our pathway to knowing Him on a deeper, more intimate level. To be dependent on Him is to be made spiritually mature in Him.
What does it mean for Him to be our Jehovah Roi? It means we acknowledge that all we need is found in Him and we choose to allow Him to protect, provide, direct and lead us. It means we understand that we need Him to tenderly care for us as a strong and patient shepherd tends to his sheep. He’s in charge. He is responsible. Consequently, we lack nothing.
As we study God’s name, Jehovah Roi, this week my prayer is that we truly hear and receive what it means to know Him as our Good Shepherd. May we all posture ourselves humbly to understand that without Him we are lost. We need Him to put us, and keep us, on His path of life. He has already provided everything we need. Let’s study His powerful name, Jehovah Roi, together and find He is the fulfillment of all we are longing for mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically!
His Name Jehovah Roi Reveals His Desire to Give you Peace & Rest:
Ezekiel 34:11-16 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pasture-land on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in lush mountain pastures. I myself will tend my sheep and cause them to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.
I want you to first notice that ten times in this short passage God says, “I will!” Ezekiel is making a clear and pointed declaration about who Jehovah Roi is to His people and how He longs to bring them home to Himself, ushering them into His peace and rest. Twice in this passage Jehovah Roi promises that His sheep will be so content, well fed and protected; that they will lie down in peace. This is a big deal for sheep! Rest doesn’t come easy for them, they are high strung animals that need a lot of maintenance to rest (more on this later). Jehovah Roi is the reason for their rest, and ours.
In the Hebrew this name is synonymous with being a friend or companion. Sheep will only rest when they know their shepherd is nearby. This illustration was not missed by God’s people. In Ezekial’s day shepherds had a personal relationship with their animals. They called them by name and lived with them, always tending to their every need. This is an obvious illustration of Jehovah Roi’s desire to be in a relationship with us, daily leading us into His rest. Only in the presence of our Good Shepherd will we find peace.
To glean the full power of this passage we cannot focus only on Jehovah Roi’s desire to bring us back home, we must also look at the reality that we are the wandering sheep. He knows our propensity to wander and yet He chooses us anyway. I love the grace and mercy exemplified through His name, Jehovah Roi. Again and again, we like sheep stray from Him and get ourselves into trouble. He never shames us or rebukes us. He searches and finds us, extending compassion instead of punishment. In Jewish culture shepherds often wrapped sheep with broken or injured legs around their necks, carrying them until they fully healed. Once the sheep were able to walk again they would rarely wander off. Why? They had learned dependency on their shepherd and have found such comfort in his presence they never want to be separated from him again.
Isn’t that just like our God? He pursues us and pulls us closer when we wander in sin and are tempted to pull away from Him in shame. He reaches for us and rescues us instead of leaving us to our own demise. When we stray He comes after us, “wrapping us up” in Himself through the ministry of His Holy Spirit. In this place, He knows we will learn His voice, the safety and sanctuary of his presence and after our wounds have healed we won't want to leave His side!
Metaphorically you might be feeling “broken” too. Maybe you are tempted to believe that God is not showing up for you as Jehovah Roi because you’re not experiencing His shepherding in the way you would choose. Maybe He’s allowed something that you feel is unkind (a health condition, financial strain, job loss, marital strife, children rebelling). Maybe it feels like He hasn’t shown up for you or isn’t answering your prayers in a way you think He should. What do you do?
Trust Him with your “broken leg”. He kno