Seven Redemptive Names: 1. Yahweh Rô’eh (יהוה רעי) (The LORD is My Shepherd)
As we continue our look at the names of God, seeking through this to draw closer to God, we come to the seven ‘redemptive’ names. These names show us not only who God is but what He does for us. Particularly, they show us that the LORD our God fills every need we can have (His love for us); and the names lead us directly to Jesus, His redemptive sacrifice and ultimate victory on our behalf (His compassion for us).
And, beautifully, Psalm 23 incorporates these redemptive names.
The first of the redemptive names is Yahweh-Rô’eh. We know that Yahweh (this series uses Yahweh, but we could as easily say Jehovah) means ‘Eternal; the Existing One” or, simply, ‘LORD.’ And Rô’eh (sometimes expressed as Roeh or Raah) means ‘shepherd.’ So quite simply and yet completely, Yahweh-Rô’eh: the LORD is my Shepherd.
We know that a shepherd knows, leads, protects and looks after his flock. We know that a flock look to the shepherd for that leadership, that care, provision and protection. This is a relationship based on trust and love through knowing each other. The shepherd, knowing his flock, loves his flock and trusts his flock to follow him – trusts the flock to recognise that he is leading them to good pasture fields; trusts the flock to feel secure and know that he will protect and defend them.
The flock knows the shepherd – trusts that he will take them to good pasture, that he will protect them and care for them; providing everything they need. And out of that trust, the flock learns to love the shepherd.
It is an interesting dynamic – the shepherd loves first; the flock learns to trust, accepts the shepherd amongst them and comes to love him.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
True ‘Rô’eh’ – true shepherding – reveals a close relationship. It is not just farm worker and animals; aloof employer and workforce. It is a friendship. Yahweh-Rô’eh can be translated as ‘the LORD my friend’ and we see this in:
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
So when you come to God, acknowledge the intimacy of the relationship He is offering to have with you. The LORD – the Almighty, the Eternal One. He leads you, providing for all your needs. But amazingly, He is not distant. He knows you so well and He seeks deep friendship with you.
Yahweh is my Rô’eh. I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
[from Timothy Pitt]