GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.
(Psalm 23 – The Message Bible)
It was coming.
Moving rapidly, keeping low to the grass, a fierce streak of black in the fading light. He didn’t have to see it or hear it to know the enemy was closing in. He felt it, through instinct honed by time living in the wilderness. His eyes glanced over the flock. One sheep was missing. He had to act quickly.
Calling to his flock, he watched them race toward him. They sensed his urgency as at other times and followed him into the fold. They knew his voice. He was glad. He closed the gate behind them and secured it. Assured of their safety, he decided to go after the lost one. In the house, his brothers were celebrating King Saul’s victory.
He ran, his skin prickled with excitement. The stones in his pouch rattled. He took one out and fitted it to his sling. The sling was a gift from his mother.
A lamb bleated, and he raced toward the frightened sound. The foolish dam remained intent upon having her own way. Rather than stay in the lush green pastures to which he led her, she continued to choose brambles and brush.
David spotted the wolf. Teeth bared, determined. The wolf snarled, advancing in a low crouch, hackles raised. They hardly traveled alone, yet this lone wolf was bent on having its meal. He raised his arm, the sling emitting a high-pitched whir before he released the stone. In that instant a line from one of his songs stole across his mind. – Yahweh is my shepherd –
With a yelp of pain, the wolf went down heavily, but quickly regained his feet.David wondered why his father would leave him exposed to the harsh realities of the wilderness. But he had no complaints. Yahweh was his companion. His solace amidst the rocky hillsides. How the sheep had sauntered off into this dreary patch of land was still a mystery. Dark and foreboding like the valley of death’s shadow, he smiled.
The lamb bleated helplessly, in confusion and fear. The wolf leapt at it. Before it could sink its jaws into the young throat, David sent another stone flying. It struck hard and true. The wolf dropped, a stone embedded in its skull.
He sighed heavily. How many times had he faced wild animals now. The hillsides were dangerous territory, but the grass there was rich. He would face any danger for his flock. Earlier that day he had led them beside the brook of Cherith. He enjoyed the silence, away from the bustle from of the war. All he wanted to know was more of God.
King David penned the words of the famous Psalm 23 but before he was anointed king, he was just a little lad lost in the wilderness of servitude. A psalm that has come to stay forever etched in the believer’s heart as the Shepherd’s Psalm. One day during my meditations which are few and far between, I stumbled upon this truth. The Psalm is replete with the names of the Lord.
The LORD (Jehovah) is my Shepherd (Jehovah-Rohi).
I shall not want (Jehovah-Jireh – my provider). There is a sufficiency that comes from intimate fellowship with the Spirit. Is it not said that He daily loads us with benefits (Psalm 68:19). Oh what heights of joy are available to the one who is truly conscious of the magnificence and benevolence of the Chief Shepherd. Every need is aptly met, every desire according to His perfect will. He supplies us and yet at the same time is our Supply.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters (Jehovah-Shalom – my peace). Peace! Peace! Great Peace! How we need peace in this world so troubled and frail. Amidst the tempestuous storms and raging malevolent winds can we look to the Saviour with calmness as He commands “Peace be still!” (Mark 4:39). It is no soft whisper, no gentle plea rather the King of all Creation strikes His gavel with resoluteness and sends the storm home. He does not beg, He does not bargain. It is with a command that He sends Peace into the hearts of Mary and Martha – as He calls Lazarus out with a shout.
He restores my soul (Jehovah-Rophe – my healer). From the seat of the soul stems all that affects man. It is his mind. Does Paul not tell us in Ephesians 4:23 and Romans 12:2 “be renewed in your mind”? Hear the words of the wise prince of Israel Solomon “as a man thinks in his heart so is he!” The Lord is the balm of Gilead more soothing than Chinese balm. His restoration works in us health and wealth. John prays “be in good health and prosper even as your soul prospers”. The woman with the pernicious hemorrhage touched Him and in that instant life surged into the shrunken sinews, the atrophied muscles and bloodless veins. He is the Physician both of your mind and body. What is Ebola or Cancer before our Healer?
He leads me in paths of Righteousness (Jehovah-Tsidkenu – the LORD our righteousness) for His name sake. There are roads of life that seem right to man but the end of those streets are destruction. Streets paved with deceit, where the sidewalks celebrate sin and iniquity. Blessed is the man who sees these roads and flees, choosing to cast his lot with the sheep of Yahweh’s fold (Psalm 1). How precious are the promises to those who walk on the path of the godly, they are encouraged with these words – your paths will shine brighter and brighter (Proverbs 4:18). Who else can lead us along this narrow path save the Spirit of the Lord. In our thoughts, actions and words. In our hidden intent, our deepest emotions, our intellect can we decipher the leading of Jehovah Tsidkenu? or do we blindly walk the path of the unjust.
Even though, I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil, For thou are with me (Jehovah-Shammah – The LORD is there). As the hellish horde bark fiercely at us. Their eyes longing to drink our blood, their claws aching for our flesh. We are assured that the Lord of Host is there (Ezekiel 48:35). In the darkest of nights, when the howl of the wind sends shivers down our spines we have a quiet assurance of victory because thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies (Jehovah-Nissi – my banner). What can we call this but blatant disregard for the feeble foe. The Lord ignores their threats and proceeds to set, for us, a table with an array of dishes. It is this act that strikes fear into the heart of hell. The Most High does not fear them and neither should we. We can sit and eat, drink as they watch in trepidation. This is what it means to be More than Conquerors. The emblem of the victorious is ours and with confidence we can flaunt it in the eyes of the enemy. No more loss, no more fear of failure. The thick chains of chaos have been lifted from our hands.
Thou anoints (Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – The Lord sanctifies) my head with oil, my cup runs over. There is an anointing that breaks the yoke, and this same anointing releases the Overflow. Ah! what joy faces the believer, beyond victory over the enemy, security in the midst of storms, we are also being set up for a tremendous OVERFLOW.
Because, Jehovah (THE LORD) is
Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We see the character of God when we know His Names, because no one name could contain the limitless infinite God and that is why His response to Moses, when asked “What shall I tell the children of Israel when they ask me what is the name of the God of their fathers that has sent me?” (Exodus 3:13), simply was “I AM THAT I AM”