Names of God – part 41: The shepherd

YHWH Rohi or YHWH Raah

Names of God – part 41

The Lord is my Shepherd or Healer

220px-Damian._The_Ancient_of_Days

YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God.

The second part of the name here is how God relates to us: Here we have a Hebrew word that is used in more than one way, depending on the tense of the word. I have virtually no knowledge of the Hebrew language but the word used plural when God said I am the LORD that heals you in Exodus 15:26, is the same word that David uses in Psalm 23 when he said the LORD is my shepherd.

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Psalm 23 uses the image of a shepherd, but it is really about healing and recovery. The shepherd leads to the place of recovery, in the green pastures the sheep rest and in the parallel verse so often found in Hebrew poetry, it is by still waters that the soul is restored. The image of a shepherd is how the poet and lyricist David, a former shepherd himself, uses to describe the restorative effect of resting in God’s presence.

God brings healing by leading us to rest. Jesus told us that the Sabbath, God’s day of rest, was made for man. We are made for rest as well as work, and we need to learn to rest in the presence of God. Not just so we do not burn up through the pressures of everyday life, but also to heal us. Healing of our desire to rush through life.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Let us learn to rest in God’s presence.

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
for ever.
Psalm 23 ESVUK

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