I’m sure all of us have heard—even memorized—the 23rd Psalm. You know, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . .” Now, if you use King Jim’s version, that first line doesn’t fit with the rest of the Psalm, does it? I mean, He is my shepherd, but I don’t want him to be . . .”
No, no. That is where language will cause us some problems. I don’t speaketh Elizabethan English, so when I read that as a child it really stumped me. Then, when I came to the Lord in 1979 (let me see, I was born in 1958, saved in 79 . . . oh, okay, I was 21). Anyway, I read some other translation of that first verse, and it revolutionized my vision of my new Father:
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing
THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need
You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need
On and on it goes. Isn’t it refreshing to hear those comforting words? In fact, I hope you will agree that the whole Psalm is a comforting message. I mean, even non-believers quote it (although, that is rather confusing. Why would they be comforted by something they don’t accept or believe in). Anyway, as you know, King David wrote this renowned Psalm, and its most famous passage is contained in the opening verse: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
The Hebrew word David used here for lack David is actually saying, “I will not lack anything.” Maybe we should be that in all caps: ANYTHING! When we combine that with the first part of the verse, David is saying, “The Lord leads, guides and nourishes me. And because of that, I will lack nothing.”
In this one brief verse, David is speaking from experience and giving us another reflection of the Lord’s character and nature. The literal Hebrew translation of the first part of this verse is Jehovah Rohi (pronounced Je-HO-va-RO’-ee), and it means “the Lord, my shepherd.” Or as we saw in the Amplified Version: “The Lord is my Shepherd—to feed, guide, and shield me . . .”
Jehovah Rohiis not some benign, passive shepherd. He isn’t a hireling—someone who does little more than provides food and guidance. No, no. He doesn’t merely point us toward the grassy pasture and pools of water, and say, “There’s what you need. Go and get it.” He doesn’t turn a blind eye to our needs. He doesn’t run the other way when he hears our cries for help and sees us in trouble. No, he knows every pain we endure, every tear we shed, and every hurt we feel. He knows when we are too weary to go another step. He knows just how much we can take. Most of all, he knows how to rescue us and bring us to a place of healing.
Time after time, when we are in trouble or in some kind of crisis . . . our shepherd comes after us, fetches us and takes us to a place of rest. He continually makes us lie down for a time of healing and restoration.
Right now, Jehovah Rohi—the Lord your shepherd—is compelling you to follow him into his rest, so that he can “shekinah” in our midst. In Exodus 29:45, the Lord says, “I'll move in and live with the Israelites. I'll be their God.” How cool is that!? How would you like the Lord to say, “I’ll move in and live with you, and I will be yourGod?” Ooh, wait! He did say that! When you came and made Jesus to be your Lord, he In fact, another promise in that verse says, “I'll meet you . . . I'll speak with you . . . I'll meet the Israelites, at the place made holy by my Glory
I want to show you something cool . . . the Hebrew word used here is shekinah, which means, “to abide by, or to settle down beside.” This isn’t talking about simply a passing presence, but a permanent one—a presence that never leaves; is there permanently. In short, the shekinah glory of God is not a vanishing imprint that disappears from our hearts like invisible ink. No, no! It is something that our Father imprints permanently on our soul. It is his very near and eternal presence! Now, if you feel inspired to shout out a big, “Yippee!” Go do it.
The picture here is glorious: Our shepherd—our Jehovah Rohi offers to come to us in the midst of our pain and depressed condition, and sit by our side. He will allow us to lean on His shoulder and cry, as He wraps His arm around us. He promises to bind up your wounds and strengthen the parts that have become sick and diseased.
That is the shekinah glory of God! That is the abiding, everlasting presence of the Lord. Often we will experience it when we are in the midst of trouble—other times when we are simply looking to Him as our Shepherd. Our great shepherd tells us, “I want to restore you, and I am going to do it by being present with you, even in the valley and shadow of death. My presence will be with you through everything the devil throws at you. Even if you try to run from me, I am going to chase after you, and when I catch you . . . I am going to take you in my arms and carry you back to my rest. Then I will bind up your wounds and heal all your sicknesses.”
(I send out messages like each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)