By Tim Rowe
One of the most amazing and inspiring characteristics of the goodness of God revealed in His covenant names of Yahweh is set forth in the book of Psalms.
Psalm 23:1 (New American Bible):
The Lord is my shepherd (Yahweh-Roi):
there is nothing I lack.
One of the most inspiring and beautiful characteristics of God’s goodness recorded in the Word of God is that He is our personal and loving shepherd. The shepherd is the oldest and most beloved profession in the Bible, and many of the great men of the Bible were shepherds such as Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, and David. The word “shepherd” in the Hebrew means: to feed, to tend, and to pasture. It connotes gentleness, tenderness, security, and provision. More interestingly, the word means “a special friend and companion.” A good shepherd had a close relationship and friendship with his sheep and devoted his entire life to feeding, protecting, and caring for his flock.
The terrain of Palestine was rugged. There was a constant threat from wild animals and thieves, and there was a continuous search for water and pasture, making the responsibilities of the shepherd great throughout the entire day and evening. The shepherd had to be vigilant, brave, and self-sacrificing or his sheep would not survive. The shepherd had an intimate concern for every aspect of the life of his sheep. Sheep are utterly dependent on their shepherd for everything concerning their well-being, and they need the gentle touch of their shepherd daily. More than a best friend or trusted companion, the shepherd is always there for his sheep. He calls each of his sheep by name, knows each sheep intimately, and immediately knows when one is missing, even if the flock is large. Each sheep is considered so important that the shepherd will sacrifice his life for their safety. Each sheep has a special and treasured place in the heart of the shepherd.
Sheep are fearful by nature and need the comfort and protection of the shepherd. Sheep wander, easily go astray, and need the guidance and instruction of the shepherd. Sheep are not intelligent regarding their circumstances and need the wisdom of the shepherd. Sheep need endless attention and meticulous care 24 hours a day .A good and faithful shepherd has all of these wonderful qualities, but does not even compare to the Lord as a shepherd. God is a far better shepherd then any human shepherd, and these magnificent qualities of a shepherd are magnified a thousand times in the the Lord. The Lord never grows weary or tired in His daily tasks as your shepherd and has an infinite amount more strength, love, wisdom, tenderness and provision than any earthly shepherd. Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord is my shepherd? The Lord is not just a shepherd somewhere in the world, but He is my own personal shepherd. I am under his loving care,
His watchful eye, and His gentle guidance every single day and night.
Isaiah 40:9(b)-11 (Message Bible):
Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid. Tell
the cities of Judah, “Look! Your God!
Look at Him! God, the Master, comes in
power, ready to go into action. He is going
to pay back his enemies and reward those
who have loved him.
Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms, hugging
them as he carries them, leading the nursing
ewes to good pasture.
We should shout for joy and delight that God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and earth, is our shepherd and that we are his flock. We rest always in His warm embrace, and He carries us on His strong shoulders. No person, no satanic influence, no earthly kingdom, no worry, no economic downturn, no circumstance, and no problem can snatch us from the mighty hand of our Shepherd.
John 10:27-29 (Amplified):
The sheep that are My own hear and are
listening to My voice; and I know them,
and they follow me.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall
never lose it or perish throughout the ages.
[To all eternity they shall never by any means
be destroyed.] And no one is able to snatch
them out of My hand.
My Father, Who has given them to me, is
greater and mightier than all else; and no
one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s
Verse 28,29 (Wuest):
And they shall positively not perish, never.
And no one will snatch them by force out
of my hand.
My Father who gave them to me as a
permanent gift is greater than all. And no
one is able to be snatching them by force
out of the hand of my Father.
The word “snatch” in the Greek means: to seize and claim for oneself eagerly, to carry away by force, to snatch away, to catch and take away by force and to remove suddenly. Nothing can overcome, defeat, or overpower the strong hand of our loving Shepherd and our Heavenly Father. He will not let you go; He will not allow someone or something to snatch you and carry you away: He will not let anyone seize and claim you for themselves. You are a permanent gift, a treasured possession, a beloved part of the family of God, and your Lord and Shepherd will protect and keep you in the safety of His mighty hand.
Now let’s study the wonderful characteristics of the goodness of God revealed in the name Yahweh-Roi, as beautifully set forth in the twenty-third psalm.
Psalm 23:1 (NIV):
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
(New English Translation):
The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.
(Bible in Basic English):
The Lord takes care of me as his sheep, I will
not be without any good thing.
The word “want” or “lack” in Hebrew means: to be lacking, to be in want, to have a need, to be destitute or deficient and to be diminished or cut short. When the Lord is our shepherd, we will lack nothing; we will not be in want, and He will meet and satisfy all of our needs. God does not want us destitute or deficient in any category of our lives. If we live in fear, worry, frustration, restlessness, and depression, we have not learned this great truth-that the Lord is our personal Shepherd and our wonderful Provider. No matter how bad the economy, or how expensive the price of gas, or how unstable the world, the Lord is still our Shepherd and is always enough to see us through the most impossible circumstance.
What a revolutionary truth in the Scriptures- that the Lord is my Shepherd, my sufficiency, my all in all and I shall not be in want! With Him, I lack nothing. There will be no lack of love, joy, peace, prosperity, strength, fearlessness, satisfaction, and health. He always will provide; He always will take care of us; He will always supply what is lacking in our lives when we trust and have confidence in Him.
Remember He is our Yahweh Jireh from our earlier chapter, and we will see vividly illustrated all of the previous six redemptive names of God in the 23rd Psalm, as we learn about the greatness of God being our Shepherd. But we must remember an even greater truth as we examine this psalm. We are more than just sheep. We have been born again into the family of God as sons and daughters, fully redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, and we stand completely righteous in His presence. How much more should the beloved truths of the Shepherd apply to His own dearly loved children that He gave His only begotten Son to die? These truths should be magnified a thousand times greater for the Christian believer.
We must also understand the deeper purpose of God in providing for us so we have no lack or deficiency in our lives. Is it simply so we can keep up with the Jones’s or brag about our new house, new car, or new shoes? Is it all about a self-absorbed philosophy of “all that matters is our prosperity and needs” to the neglect of all others? God loves to provide for His children, and He thrills when you have complete faith in Him to meet all your needs. It is a glorious testimony to our God when you have no lack in your life, but he wants you to see the bigger picture.
II Corinthians 9:8 (Christian Holman Bible):
And God is able to make every grace overflow
to you, so that in every way, always having
everything you need, you may excel in every
The bigger picture is that God wants you to reach out to others and bring His goodness into their lives. God wants our actions, our deeds, our words, and our life to radiate His goodness. God’s grace abounds and overflows in our lives so that we, always having everything we need, can excel in every good work. God has provided for us and met all of our needs so that we can super abound and excel in helping and loving others, living for Him, doing His work, and accomplishing His purpose for our lives.
He makes me to lie down in fresh tender green
pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful
Yahweh-Roi is the trail-blazer and risk taker for His sheep, as there is no insecurity in the Lord as our Shepherd. Those who remain faithful to the Shepherd’s call will enjoy fertile green pastures and calm, restful waters. The shepherd in Israel was constantly seeking fresh pastures in the barren Judean-scrub land. This entailed climbing mountain sides, searching remote valleys, looking for new sources of water over long distances, and often taking dangerous risks. The shepherd knows the best pastures and waters for his sheep, and nothing will stop him in his diligent search. The sheep allow the shepherd to lead and comfort them in every area of life. Their ears are open and in touch with their master, and they joyfully follow his firm lead and gentle guidance. Green pastures and quiet waters are top priority needs of the sheep if they are to survive and grow.
The words “he makes me to lie down” in the Hebrew mean to lie stretched out, and it essentially means to be comfortably at rest. The tense of the verb indicates that he repeats the action over and over. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates the word as “to pitch a tent.” The word is also used of birds making a nest and settling in. The word “green” in the Hebrew means “new, fresh tender grass after a rain” and the word “pastures” means: a meadow, a pasture that is a habitation and a pleasant place. Figuratively, it is like a comfortable, pleasant home. Sheep are fearful and easily disturbed and will not lie down unless they are totally secure and at ease. The shepherd lovingly brings his sheep to a beautiful pasture of fresh and tender grass, where they can stretch out in complete satisfaction and comfort. The sheep feel relaxed and at home in this lush meadow in the presence of their loving shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:11-16;25-31 (Message Bible):
God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself
am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them.
As shepherds go after their flocks when they
get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll
rescue them from all the places they’ve been
scattered to in the storms.
I’ll bring them back from foreign peoples,
gather them from foreign countries, and bring
them back to their home country. I’ll feed
them on the mountains of Israel, along the
streams, among their own people.
I’ll lead them into the lush pasture so they can
roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze
at leisure, feed in the rich pastures of the
the mountains of Israel.
And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep.
I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest.
I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll
doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones
and oversee the strong ones so they are not
I’ll make a covenant of peace with them. I’ll
banish fierce animals from the country so the
sheep can live safely in the wilderness and sleep
in the forest.
I’ll make them and everything around my hill a
blessing. I’ll send down plenty of rain in season-
showers of blessing!
The trees in the orchard will bear fruit, the
ground will produce, they’ll feel content and
safe on their land, and they’ll realize that I am
God when I break them out of their slavery and
rescue them from their slave masters.
No longer will they be exploited by outsiders
and ravaged by fierce beasts. They’ll live safe,
sound, fearless and free.
I’ll give them rich gardens, lavish in vegetables-
no more living half-starved, no longer taunted
They’ll know, beyond doubting, that I, God,
am their God, that I’m with them and that they,
the people of Israel, are my people.
Decree of God, the Master: you are my dear
flock, the flock of my pasture, my human flock,
and I am your God.
What an amazing shepherd our God is! He decrees that he will personally go looking for his sheep and rescue them from all their calamities. He will break them out of anything that enslaves them and bring them home to lush pastures so that they can graze, feed, and rest in His rich pastures. He will tenderly take care of the injured, build up the weak, and lovingly protect his flock from the fierceness of any animal or outsider who wants to exploit them. The sheep will be surrounded by the blessing of God and live safe, sound, fearless, and free. They will rest content knowing that Yahweh-Roi is their God and their provider, protector, and deliverer.
Have we spent too much time trying to live in our own pasture only to end up ravaged by frustration and defeat? Isn’t it time we let God be our shepherd and guide us to His rich pasture of life, where we can live in His blessing? Isn’t His pasture the best where we can feed on the goodness of God and live in the presence of His love, joy, peace, and safety? Yahweh-Roi will search everywhere to find you, no matter where thestorms of life have taken you. He will spare no effort to bring you back into His fold and bring you back home where you can live and breathe again. Jesus Christ illustrated in the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 that there is great rejoicing and celebration in heaven over one sheep that was lost and is found. When you find your shepherd and Jesus Christ becomes your Lord, nothing thrills God and the angels of heaven more. Isn’t it time we come home to God’s pasture?
Verse 2 also states that Yahweh-Roi “leads me beside the still and restful waters.” The word “lead” in the Hebrew means: to lead with care, to guide, to cause to rest and to bring to a station or goal. Our shepherd leads us to restful waters, which in Hebrew means: a resting place or a place of rest, quietness and comfort. It’s a restful, beautiful, calm stream of water, where the sheep can be refreshed and energized. These quiet, restful waters have a soothing and calming effect on the sheep, as their shepherd has carefully guided them to this quiet oasis. Yahweh-Roi is our source for rest and calm from the burdens and anxieties in life that weigh us down and rob us of our strength and peace.
Yahweh-Roi wants his sheep to experience and live in His eternal calm, where all agitations cease and stillness of God reigns unbroken. The heart of the unbeliever may be full of distress, perplexities, and tumult, but the heart of the Christian should be a haven of rest and quiet peace. It is only the Lord our Shepherd who can guide us to these restful waters. God calls us to Himself to enjoy the blessed tranquility which Christ won for us in His own conquest on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. We can have the very rest and peace of Christ in the midst of the rage and riot of surrounding evil. The words of Jesus sound out to all who lack His rest.
Matthew 11:29-31 (Amplified):
Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-
laden and overburdened, and I will cause you
to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I
am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart,
and you will find rest (relief and ease and
refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet)
for your souls.
For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good-not harsh,
hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious,
and pleasant) and My burden is light and easy to
Only Jesus Christ can give you rest and refresh and quiet your soul. Isaiah 14:17 declares that Lucifer makes the earth tremble which in the Hebrew means: to be disquieted, perturbed, agitated, enraged, and disturbed. The ministry of Satan upon the earth is to disquiet, enrage, perturb, and agitate. He fervently desires the soul of a person to be in a continual state of disturbance and agitation. As the Psalmist cried out:
Psalm 38:8 (KJV):
I am feeble and sore broken. I have roared
by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
I am faint and broken beyond measure. I roar
because of the agitation of my heart.
Without Yahweh-Roi as our Lord and shepherd, we roar like a wild animal, because we are enslaved by the whirlwind of agitation and disturbance that Satan throws at us. Christ will calm the raging sea; he will silence the dangerous storm, and he will quiet the unrelenting turmoil of life and gently guide you to his living, restful waters. He will lead you to a place where your entire being can be at complete peace. Here we see the illustration of Yahweh-Shalom, the Lord our Peace, where we have inward and outward tranquility unaffected by circumstance. Hebrews 4:9 states that a true and complete rest remains for the people of God. Our lives should be lived in the center of our Shepherd’s rest.
Revelation 7:17 (NIV):
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd; he will lead them
to springs of living water. And God will
wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Isaiah 49:9,10 (Amplified):
Saying to those who are bound, Come
forth, and to those who are in spiritual
darkness, Show yourselves [come into
the light of the Sun of righteousness].
They shall feed in all the ways in which
they go, and their pastures shall be, not
in deserts, but on all the bare [ grass-
They will not hunger or thirst, neither
will mirage mislead or scorching wind
or sun smite them; for He who has mercy
on them will lead them, and by springs
of water, He will guide them.
Our awesome Shepherd has led us out of spiritual darkness into His brilliant light, where we can peacefully feed in his abundant pastures. No mirage can mislead us, no boisterous wind or scorching sun can hurt us, and we will not hunger or thirst, for our
Shepherd guides us to the cool, refreshing waters of his presence.
Psalm 23:3 (NAS):
He restores my soul. He guides me in the
paths of righteousness For His name sake.
Yahweh-Roi restores our soul. The word “restore” in the Hebrew means: to cause to return, to turn back, to lead back, to refresh, repair and move back to the point of departure. It describes a reversal of direction as one is brought back to a former state or condition. The word “soul” means our breath life and it encompasses everything that we are. It includes our mind, our thoughts, our intellect, our emotions, our passions, our desires, and our personality. The soul is the basis of physical life and movement. Your soul is uniquely you and comprises your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Adam and Eve had a perfect state of fellowship and standing with God in the Garden of Eden. However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and followed the devil’s crafty deception, they were brought to a condition of spiritual ruin and decay. Adam and Eve were driven from the presence of God and wandered astray from their Creator. But God reached out to those who would trust Him above all else, and He gently guided His sheep to restoration. Yet perfect restoration did not come until Calvary. Through Jesus Christ, we are brought back to a perfect state of fellowship and standing with God, clothed in His righteousness. Yahweh-Roi completely restores us through Christ, providing a complete reversal of our selfish ways and repairing, refreshing, cleansing, and reviving our soul. Our hopes, dreams, desires and aspirations are now rooted in the heart of our loving Father. We are now face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart with our mighty God. Yahweh-Roi has made us a new creation and given us new, vibrant, and energetic physical and spiritual life in Him.
Romans 3:21-24 (Message Bible):
But in our time something new has been added.
What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all
these years has finally happened. The God-setting
things-right that we read about has become Jesus-
setting-things-right for us. And not only for us,
but for everyone who believes in Him.
For there is no difference between us and them in
this. Since we compiled this long and sorry record
as sinners (both us and them) and proved we are
utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God
wills for us, God did it for us.
Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing
with himself. A pure gift.
He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us
to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it
by means of Jesus Christ.
Titus 3:3-8 (Message Bible):
It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid
and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which
way by our glands. Going around with a chip on
our shoulder, hated and hating back.
But when God, our kind and loving Savior God,
stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all
his doing. We had nothing to do with it.
He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it
new people, washed inside and out by the Holy
Our Savior Jesus Christ poured out new life so
God’s gift has restored our relationship with
him and given us back our lives.
And there’s more life to come-an eternity of
life! You can count on this.
The goodness of God brings us to wonderful restoration of the very life God always intended for us to live. He found us when were lost, rescued us when we were down, delivered us when we were enslaved, and brought us back to His loving arms. Jesus Christ stood in the gap and brought us back to our loving Heavenly Father.
Psalm 23:3(b) (NAS):
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
for His name sake.
New Living Testament:
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor
to his name.
Yahweh-Roi guides and leads us on the right paths that will glorify and honor Him. The word “path” in the Hebrew is an interesting word that means: an entrenchment, a track where wheels go, a trench and a groove. Have you ever watched a western movie and seen the wagons moving across the land? When wagons are repeatedly driven down a path, the wheels cut trenches or grooves in the ground. This is a path that is deeply embedded in the earth so it is well-defined and easy to follow. The path is clearly identified by these tracks deeply dug into the ground. In other words, you can’t miss it! God has a clearly marked path that He has prepared for you that fulfills His purpose. A path gets you to go in a certain direction and points you toward a certain destination. A path represents a way of life, a pattern of living, and a road of choice that we have chosen to direct our life. The Bible mentions many paths that we are confronted with in life, and God often asks His children “What path will you choose?” There are paths of life, paths of death, paths of justice, paths of destruction, paths of peace, paths of crookedness, paths of straightness, paths of evil, and paths of goodness. In Psalms 23 it is paths of righteousness, or righteous paths. It is a right path for your life that will produce the fruits of righteousness.
Remember our wonderful study of Yahweh-Zidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness? We studied in great depth this word “righteousness” from God’s word and we that learnedrighteousness is the God-given ability to stand in the presence of God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, shame, or unworthiness and to stand in the presence of Satan without any sense of inferiority, weakness, fear, or cowardice. Righteousness is to be legally brought into a right relationship and standing with God. Righteousness gives us an unreserved and unlimited approach to God with boldness and complete confidence. Righteousness restores to a person fellowship with God whereby we can walk and live in deep intimacy and companionship with our Heavenly Father.
It is very enlightening that the Hebrew word for “righteous” also means “someone who stays on the path,” and in fact, the word for “wicked’ in the Hebrew means: one who has departed from the path either by walking off the path on purpose or becoming lost from the path. How important it is in God’s eyes for us to remain on His clearly defined track or path! Sheep have a tendency to stray and wander aimlessly off the right path. The shepherd knows the right direction and path to go where the sheep will be safe and taken care of. The righteous path is a way of life in close companionship with our loving Shepherd. It is a way of life of fearlessness, boldness, and quiet confidence, knowing we are on the path of triumph and victory because of our Savior’s love. This path is well defined and clearly marked by the Word of God. We do not need Indiana Jones to discover the mysterious secret path for our life. God knows what path of life is best for you. Who can be a better guide or better leader for our lives than Yahweh-Roi? He is actively involved as our guide, and it is absolutely breathtaking to think that every moment of the day He holds us by the hand, gently guiding us through all the dangers and pitfalls of life. He will never let go. He will never grow weary. He will never sleep. He is forever vigilant in His protection and guidance.
Isaiah 42:16 (Message Bible):
But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t
know the way, who can’t see where they’re
going. I’ll be a personal guide to them,
directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads
to take, make sure they don’t fall into the
ditch. These are the things I’ll be doing for
them-sticking with them, not leaving them
for a minute.
Psalm 25:4,5,8-10 (New Living Translation):
Show me the right path, O Lord; point
out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for
you are the God who saves me. All day
long I put my hope in you.
The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who
He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
The Lord leads with unfailing love and
faithfulness all who keep his covenant
and obey his demands.
Isaiah 41:10,13 (New Living Translation):
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t
be discouraged, for I am your God. I
will strengthen you and help you. I will
hold you up by my victorious right hand.
For I hold you by your right hand-I, the
Lord your God. And I say to you, “Don’t
be afraid. I am here to help you.
Yahweh-Roi is our personal guide who leads us with unfailing love and faithfulness on His right paths in life. When we try to direct our own life without God’s help, we end up falling into a ditch and getting lost following the wrong road. We ultimately will fail miserably when we try to direct our own paths and leave God out of the picture. God Almighty desires nothing more than to hold our hand and lovingly guide us on His righteous paths that lead to the richness and abundance of life He has planned for us. This brings honor and glory to His name-when His children are blessed, protected, and provided for as they walk with Him down the path of life. What a great characteristic of the goodness of God!
Psalm 23:4 (Amplified):
Yes, though I walk through the deep,
sunless valley of death, I will fear or
dread no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod to protect and Your staff to
guide, they comfort me.
In Israel, the landscape is cut with many narrow valleys and stream beds. There are many rugged canyons and rocky valleys with deep shadows. In the Hebrew the phrase “valley of the shadow of death” is more accurately in grammatical usage “the valley of the deepest shadows” or “the valley of the darkest shade or shadows.” It is a steep valley or narrow gorge of deep darkness. It is a poetic term for very thick darkness. It is a shade of death, emphasizing the calamity and danger it represents. Imagine a huge, deep valley of towering rock with a very narrow gorge where dark shadows loom and the darkness seems so thick that you can feel it. Behind every shadow there seems to lurk an enemy lying in wait. Light is scarce, and it is hard to see what lies ahead. The sheep may not even be able to see their shepherd, but he is there. The narrow valley walls seem tight and suffocating. The sides seem to be closing in, and all vision grows dim. Have you ever felt you were in a deep, suffocating valley of fear, worry, calamity, addiction in life, and there is seemingly no way out? Has the darkness seemed to engulf you and great fear seized your heart? Have you felt helpless in the deepest shadows of your soul and wonder if you will ever see the light of life again? God gently whispers to you to not be afraid, for He will lead you through every rocky valley; He will guide you through every dark shadow, and He will carry you through every rugged canyon.
Think how intimidating the valley of the deepest shadows is for helpless sheep. Sheep are very timid by nature and scare very easily. They are defenseless and vulnerable to attack from their enemies. The sheep must trust and follow their shepherd, even through this perilous valley of the deepest shadows. The sheep must rely and depend completely on their shepherd and follow his voice and direction. The shepherd will not abandon them, as he walks them right through the thick darkness of this valley in complete safety and flawless protection.
Even on the paths of righteousness, there are some dark valleys we must pass through, but there is no reason to fear, for Yahweh-Roi is with us every step of the way. No circumstance, no enemy, no problem, and no evil lurking in the shadows is bigger than God. Who is stronger than God? Who is more powerful than God? Who is mightier than God? Absolutely nothing is stronger or more powerful than God. Who can defeat God? Who can overcome God? Who can outsmart God? God is not intimidated; God does not back down; God does not shrink back in fear and neither should we, because our mighty Lord is with us always through all the peaks and valleys of life. He never leaves our side. He never abandons us. He never leaves us helpless.
Psalm 91 declares that we abide in the shadow and protection of God Almighty. He is so close to us that we live under his warm embrace and in His heavenly shadow.
Psalm 91:1 (Amplified):
He who dwells in the secret place of the
Most High shall remain stable and fixed
under the shadow of the Almighty[whose
power no foe can withstand].
God is our loving, personal friend, companion, and Father, and we share intimate and loving communion with Him. We share our hopes, desires, joys, thoughts, sorrows, and dreams with Him. He dwells with us and in us, and we come to Him as our refuge, crawl into his lap, and enjoy His peaceful rest and protection. Few people know the wonderful joy of this secret place, where we have unrestrained intimacy with our Heavenly Father. We open our hearts to Him as he gently heals and binds our wounds and warms us with His tender love. We remain stable and solid as a rock against any foe when we abide under His shadow.
Psalm 91:2 (KJV):
I will say of the Lord, He is my
Refuge and my Fortress, my God;
on Him I lean and rely, and in Him
I confidently trust.
Psalm 91:3,4: (Message Bible):
That’s right-he rescues you from
hidden traps, shields you from
His huge outstretched arms protect
you-under them you are perfectly
safe; his arms fend off all harm.
What protection and security we have as God’s beloved, as He is our refuge and our fortress! We can lean on Him, as he shields and rescues us from every deadly hazard. The Lord’s huge, outstretched arms are firmly wrapped around us and fend off all harm. We are perfectly safe in His heavenly fortress, as His loving and watchful gaze over us never diminishes.
Psalm 91:5-7,9,10 (Amplified):
You shall not be afraid of the terror
of the night, nor of the arrow (the
evil plots and slander of the wicked)
which flies by day.
Nor of the pestilence that stalks in
darkness, nor of the destruction and
sudden death that surprise and lay
waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, and
ten thousand at your right hand, but it
shall not come near you.
Because you have made the Lord your
refuge, and the Most High your
There shall no evil befall you, nor any
plague or calamity come near your tent.
David boldly proclaims in Psalm 23, “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” The psalmist also confidently states in Psalm 91 that no terror, pestilence, destruction, plague, calamity, or evil will befall you when you make the Lord your refuge and dwelling place. The word “evil” is the same Hebrew word in both Psalms and means: breaking up all that is good or desirable; a wickedness that is actively opposed to goodness; destroying or injuring by scattering or breaking into pieces; to destroy, circumvent or hinder the good purpose or design God has intended for someone or something. Think of a beautiful flower vase that has the design or function of holding flowers and water, and all are blessed to observe the breathtaking display of beauty in the flowers. But if you take that vase and smash it on the floor, the action of destroying its purpose, design, and function is a vivid illustration of what this Hebrew word for “evil” means. Evil is the active opposition of God’s good purpose or design for a person with the intent of destroying, limiting, suffocating, and hindering it in any way possible.
We will study this word in relation to goodness in greater depth later, but at its core is the idea of trying to break up anything that has to do with the goodness of God. Evil is the exact opposite of the goodness of God, and its source is always God’s arch-enemy, the devil. Evil has many manifestations, such as wickedness, badness, viciousness, misery, injury, and destruction, but at its root it is always lacking one vital thing-the goodness of God. Evil is never dormant, but is always active in its attempt to keep a person from enjoying and living in the goodness of God. Its main goal is to separate you in your heart and mind from the goodness of God and to bring all types of destruction to your body, mind, and life.
Fear is the fuel of evil and allows its access into a person’s life. This is why God boldly proclaims time and time again in the scriptures, “FEAR NOT FOR I AM WITH YOU.” God has a wonderful good design and purpose for your life. He wants to be your loving Father and to have a good, intimate relationship with you. He wants to accomplish wonderful good things with you. He earnestly desires for you to enjoy His goodness every day of your life. Nothing can stop you when you trust God and have faith and confidence in His ability to direct your paths in life. Evil can never overcome the goodness of God. Evil cannot defeat God, and evil cannot destroy God as evil scatters in the light and glory of His marvelous presence. You have nothing to fear, as we studied with Yahweh-Shammah, for He is always there for you.
Joshua 1:5,9 (New Living Translation):
No one will be able to stand against you
as long as you live. For I will be with you
as I was with Moses: I will not fail you
or abandon you.
This is my command-be strong and
courageous! Do not be afraid or
discouraged. For the Lord God is with
you wherever you go.
Yahweh-Roi will never fail you or abandon you. We need never be afraid or discouraged for He is closer to us than our very breath. The sheep never needed to fear when they were safely in the presence of their master, no matter how deep or dark the valley. The shepherd would use his rod and staff to comfort the sheep as he gently guided them on the right path. These were the only two items a shepherd would carry to help him in His responsibilities for the sheep. From the time of his youth, a young shepherd boy would take great pride in the selection of his rod and staff, especially suited for his own size and strength. The rod was a club carved out of wood and whittled down to exactly fit the shepherd’s hand. The young shepherd would spend hours practicing with this club so he could both throw it and use it in his hand with amazing accuracy and speed. It was used to protect the sheep from predators, as its primary function was protection and defense of the sheep. The rod was an extension of the shepherd’s right arm and stood as the symbol of his authority, power, and strength in any dangerous situation. The staff was a long pole with a crook on the end that could be used to guide the sheep or get leaves off of trees to feed them. Its primary function was guidance. The shepherd could use it to draw the sheep closer to each other and to himself. The staff could also be used to free a sheep entangled in a wild bush or bramble. So the staff could promote both intimacy and freedom in his gentle guidance of the sheep.
Yahweh-Roi uses his rod as an extension of his mighty hand to ward off all enemies and protect us from all evil. The rod illustrates all the authority, power and strength of God Almighty in His protection of His children. The staff represents Yahweh-Roi’s vigilant guidance on the paths of righteousness as he gently draws us close to Him. He constantly directs our paths into His goodness with his ever-present staff. He never sleeps or slacks off in this watchful protection and guidance.
Psalm 121:2,3,5-7 (English Revised Version):
My help comes from the Lord who made
heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he
who keeps you will not slumber.
The Lord is your keeper: the Lord is
your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
What an amazing truth that the Lord who made the heavens and earth is our helper and our keeper. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the word “help” paints a wonderful mind picture, as it means “the one who hears the cry for help and comes running swiftly to give aid or assistance.” It is always appropriate and well-timed help coming exactly when we need it. In the book of Acts, this same word is used to describe the supporting cables that under gird a ship in the midst of a ferocious storm. The procedure of passing ropes under a ship to hold it together during a storm is called “frapping.” The ship’s crew would wrap cables around the ship’s hull and winch them tight. This would provide better support for the ship to withstand the heavy beating of the wind and sea.
Again, what a vivid picture this paints for us, as our Lord runs swiftly when He hears our cry for help and wraps his arms tightly around us so we can endure the storms of life that may come crashing all around us. We rest safely in His bosom as He protects and shields us from all harm. How awesome is our God and how magnificent is His goodness!
The word “keeper” in the Hebrew means: to exercise great care to watch over someone or something so as to guard, protect, preserve, and keep it. It is like encircling a person with protection and building a divine wall or hedge of protection around him or her. The keeper is ever watchful and on guard for any kind of assault, attack, or warfare.
The emphasis is on complete watchful protection. The equivalent Greek word in the Septuagint is a word we studied before, which means “to keep by a military garrison so as to guard a person from violence, enemies, danger, and seizure.”
God surrounds us with His heavenly garrison, and nothing can break through and harm us. Who could be a better keeper than God Almighty? Do you see now why we need not fear any type of evil? God is our personal bodyguard and oh, by the way, He also made the heavens and the earth. He guards, watches over, preserves, and keeps us every moment of the day. He does not sleep on the job; He is always alert; He is never caught off guard. God is never forgetful of you for one moment. He is the keeper of your life. He makes you stand on solid footing, and His loving support never leaves you. He runs swiftly to help us whenever we cry out for Him. He comforts us with His presence, knowing that He is with us always. The Lord is our shade and our shadow, and just as everywhere we go our shadow goes with us, God shadows us at all times and in all circumstances. What great comfort in knowing that the Lord is my helper and my keeper. What wonderful truths about God’s goodness are revealed in the name of Yahweh-Roi.
Psalm 23:5: (New Living Translation):
You prepare a feast for me in the
presence of my enemies. You
honor me by anointing my head
with oil. My cup overflows with
The word “enemies” in the Hebrew means: to bind, cause distress, and to make narrow and can refer to anything that binds us, cause us distress, or presses and confines us either externally or internally. It also means something or someone who shows hostility towards us and vexes and harasses us. We can have internal enemies like fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, depression, and oppression that try to keep us under pressure and bondage so that we are in a constant state of distress. We may have external enemies of people or circumstances that vex and harass us, or world events that attempt to seize us with fear and disrupt and agitate our hearts. Underneath all of it is one spiritual enemy,the devil, who is orchestrating his external and internal attack against us. But God is openly showing our enemies that He is our God, and He has set before us a table of His blessings right in the midst of every single enemy. What is on this table? His overflowing love, joy, peace, healing, prosperity, protection, strength, comfort, and every imaginable blessing that flows from the goodness of God. He is making an open declaration to the world and the entire kingdom of darkness that His children rest under His protection and blessing. Nothing the world has to offer in fame, riches or glory can compare to the honor of being God’s beloved child and being blessed under His mighty hand.
Yahweh-Roi has laid out a magnificent banquet of His blessing before us, and He has the abundance to feed and take care of us and the power to protect us, even though we are surrounded by many enemies. We sit down at this table with absolute confidence, knowing that we will feast in perfect security because our magnificent Lord is right at the table with us. God is our Yahweh-Nissi and says to us, “You feast on my blessings and rest in my protection, and let me fight the battle against your enemies.” Right in the middle of the battlefield where the attack of the enemy seems imminent, God says, “Relax and enjoy everything I have provided for you in Christ Jesus, and I will take care of the enemy.” We don’t have to eat and run; we sit and enjoy the loving presence and fellowship with our Lord. We know God will meet all of our needs, even in the presence of great, immediate danger.
I John 4:4 (NAB):
You belong to God, children,
and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you is
greater than the one who is
in the world.
Romans 8:31-35,38,39 (Message Bible):
So, what do you think? With God
on our side like this, how can we
If God didn’t hesitate to put
everything on the line for us,
embracing our condition and exposing
himself to the worst by sending his
own, is there anything else he wouldn’t
gladly and freely do for us?
And who would dare tangle with God by
messing with one of God’s chosen? Who
would dare even point a finger?
The One who died for us-who was raised
to life for us!-is in the presence of God
at this very moment sticking up for us.
Do you think anyone is going to be able
to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s
love for us? There is no way!
Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not
hunger, not homelessness, not bullying
threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst
sins listed in scripture:
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing
living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or
tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-
absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s
love because of they way that Jesus our Master
has embraced us.
Galatians 4:6,7 (Message Bible):
Thus we have been set free to experience our
rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you
are now fully adopted as his own children because
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying
out, “Papa! Father!”
Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with
God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a
child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir,
with complete access to the inheritance.
You belong to God. You are His dear child. You have a rightful heritage and inheritance as a son or daughter of God. You are an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. Nothing can separate you from the great love inside the heart of God for you. You are a super conqueror over any enemy in Christ. If someone messes with you, they are messing with God’s kid, and God will always step in, defend, and protect you. God is for you and wants the best for you. He wants you to enjoy this good inheritance and realize that no enemy that Satan may throw at you can take away or destroy this inheritance. The table that God sets before you overflows with the feast and trimmings of this heavenly inheritance that you have every legal and moral right to, because of what Jesus Christ did for you. Your cup overflows with the abundance of God’s goodness. God is showing every enemy, every unbeliever, every agnostic soul, every doubter, every God-hater, every devil spirit, and even Satan just how complete, good, wonderful, and protective He is of his children. He even has an open invitation to every unbelieving man or woman to come and enjoy the fruits of Jesus Christ as their Savior and Shepherd. You are a living testament to the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God.
God lovingly and tenderly anoints your head with oil. In the Ancient Near East, perfumed oil was poured on the heads of distinguished guests at a feast. Oil was also used to anoint someone for a great calling or purpose of God, symbolizing that they are set apart by God for His special calling. Kings, prophets, and priests were often anointed with oil before they began their rule or ministry. You are God’s most distinguished and honored guest at this table He has set before you. God has called you to accomplish great things for Him, and He has anointed you with the gift of holy spirit so that you have the divine power to walk in His great calling. Do you see how special you are as a child of God and how good God is in all He has provided for us?
Psalm 23:6 (New Living Translation):
Surely your goodness and unfailing
love will pursue me all the days of
my life, and I will live in the house
of the Lord forever.
The Word of God begins this wonderful verse with the word “surely” which tells the reader to pay special attention to the truth that follows. It means “truly, certainly, indeed and verily” and is a word of affirmative emphasis of the importance of the words that follow. God is saying, “I really want you to get the truth of this verse into your heart and soul.” The word “pursue” means: to search for eagerly, to track down, to hunt for someone with relentless abandon, to chase, to pursue ardently and to run after. It is to relentlessly pursue and chase after someone until you hunt them down. The word has an intensity and passion to it and is the same word used when a villain chases his victim or a predator hunts his prey. It is not a half-hearted effort, but has boundless energy and conviction behind the pursuit. I remember watching movies where there is a diligent search for a fugitive with dogs, and people are bringing every ounce of strength and manpower to track down this criminal. This gives you a mind picture of this amazing word in this verse.
Do you know what relentlessly pursues us and chases after us with a fathomless passion? God’s goodness and His unfailing love! Think about that for a moment and it will take your breath away. When I see such a great truth like this in the word of God, I often feel inadequate as a writer to be able to communicate its magnificent light. It is so big, awesome, and mind-boggling that every single day no matter where we are, God Almighty with boundless energy and conviction runs after us and tracks us down with His abundant goodness and faithful love. So often religion teaches just the opposite-that God could care less about us to pursue us every day, as He is too busy with other more important things. Religion also teaches that if he did pursue us, it is only to exhibit his anger and displeasure with us. This simply is not true. God wants you to know, understand, and experience His goodness and love every day of your life.
The word translated “unfailing love” is the Hebrew word “chesed,” which is so full of meaning that no single English word can capture it. This Hebrew word simply has no equivalent in the English language. It has been translated “mercy, love, grace, loving-kindness, favour, goodness, loyalty, steadfastness, faithfulness, devotion, constant love, and kindness.” The New Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words states there are three basic meanings to the word which always interact, and they are “strength,” “steadfastness” and “love”. The essence of the word is a robust love that never fades or falters; this love is completely reliable and constant; this love manifests itself to us with great mercy, tenderness, kindness, loyalty, grace, and goodness. This love is strong and steadfast. It is an eternal and committed devotion that encompasses all these wonderful expressions of love. This love is unfailing and absolutely faithful. It is devoted love in action. It is a committed love that only exists in a covenant relationship. The word implies personal involvement and commitment in a deep covenant relationship. God has made a covenant with us as His beloved children sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ. This covenant is God’s solemn oath and unbreakable commitment, His fierce loyalty and His undying pledge to you as His child every second of the day. A covenant bond is the highest and most committed relationship possible. This covenant represents an unqualified, total commitment of God to us as His children unconditionally, completely, and eternally.
We can be absolutely assured of this wonderful truth that God’s goodness and His chesed, His covenant unfailing love, mercy, kindness, loyalty, and grace will always relentlessly pursue and chase after you all the days of your life. You can’t hide from it. You cannot out run it. You cannot avoid it. It will never leave or forsake you. It won’t abandon you. When you are troubled, when you are down, when you are discouraged, and when you are in trouble, God’s amazing love, grace, mercy, kindness, and goodness are right there to help, encourage, comfort, and support you. No person, no economic policy, no world order, no satanic power, no troubling circumstance, and no overwhelming power can separate you from God’s goodness and unfailing love. This is God’s solemn promise and unbreakable commitment to His children.
And I will live in the house of the
And through the length of my days
the house of the Lord and His presence
shall be my dwelling place.
Bible in Basic English:
I will have a place in the house
of the Lord all my days.
New Jerusalem Bible:
I make my home in the house
of Yahweh for all time to come.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
Not only does God’s goodness and chesed relentlessly pursue us daily, but we have the privilege of dwelling or living in the house or presence of the Lord forever. Where else would anyone want to live? I would rather be back home in the house of God than anyplace on Earth. Living in His presence transforms you; it cleanses you; it heals you. Living in His presence allows you to build a strong, intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Living in His presence makes you strong. Living in His presence allows God to bring to pass His heart’s desire of reproducing Himself in you. You begin to love, to have compassion, to touch, to care. and to speak the living Word like our Lord. Living in His presence changes the heart to where the Lord lives and moves through your words and actions. Living in His presence is living in the light and glory of God, and you will shine brilliantly in the midst of a tarnished world. Remember the great truth we studied of Yahweh-Shammah and the incredible blessing of His presence and knowing that He is there.
The word “live” in the Hebrew means: to dwell, remain, sit or abide and to have one’s home. It denotes living or being. Where is the home where your heart is living? Whose presence do you run to when everything seems to crumble around you? Where do you dwell in your mind and heart daily? Where do you go when things get tough? Where do you go when you get lonely? Where do you go when you get down? Where does your heart rest? Who or what dwells in your heart?
Wilson’s The NIV Application Commentary explains this phrase of “dwelling in the house of the Lord” in more detail:
Not only does the psalmist sit as an
honored guest at table with God,
but he looks forward in confidence
to dwelling in Yahweh’s house
forever…the temple is a symbol of
Yahweh’s presence with Israel. It is
here that God comes down in a
special way to be with his people.
It is here that they can approach him,
knowing they will find him…the
temple is the place where a prepared
people…and a mighty victorious God
converge in worship. To be present in
the temple is to be before God-to have
access to him in lament, praise, and
thanksgiving. To be ever dwelling in
the temple, then, means, to remain always
in God’s caring and effective presence.
Dwelling in God’s house, therefore, is
an experience of blessing and honor as
well as protection. In this context, Psalm
23’s spread table, anointed head and
overflowing cup are the gracious ministrations
of a welcoming host, who lavishes honor,
care, abundant goodness and protective
care on his guest…Dwelling in God’s house
is also an opportunity to experience God
intimately on an on-going basis…it is an
escape to the very presence of God himself…
To come to the dwelling of God is to
approach the very source of light and life…
Being in God’s presence implies the ability
to gain divine guidance in following the
way of Yahweh as well as to experience
the blessing of divine hospitality, abundant
provision, steadfast love, forgiveness,
protection, light and life…
To dwell in the house of the Lord is not simply to dwell in a place like a church or temple. It is bigger than that. It is to dwell, abide, and live in the literal presence of God. It is to experience God in all of His goodness on an ongoing basis. It is to commune, fellowship, walk, and talk with God and fully experience His love and blessings.
Psalm 27:4 (Amplified):
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek, inquire for, and
insistently require: that I may
dwell in the house of the Lord
[in His presence] all the days
of my life, to behold and gaze
upon the beauty [the sweet
attractiveness and the delightful
loveliness] of the Lord and to
meditate, consider, and inquire
in his temple.
Our one desire should be to diligently seek God first in our lives and live for Him. We should bask our lives in the light of His presence and the strength of His Word. The more we seek Him and get to know Him, our understanding will be enlightened as to the amazing beauty, goodness, delightfulness, and unfailing love of our Lord. Our heart and soul should follow relentlessly after God and cleave to Him with every ounce of strength we have. We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and make it a daily priority to live our lives in constant awareness of His loving presence. God no longer dwells in a physical location, but He dwells in you, because of the mighty work of Christ in the new birth. From the moment you are born again, you have a divine union with God, and God in Christ dwells in every part of your being. You have a new spiritual divine nature born within you and have access to your Heavenly Father every second of the day. You are a son or daughter of God by birth. You are filled with all the fullness of Christ. You are filled with all the fullness of God. We know God is for us, and we know God is with us, but now God is in us. We must become God-inside minded. E.W. Kenyon powerfully states:
We are linked with God. He is now our
own very Father. We are utterly one with
Him. He is in us. We are in Him. He is
part of us. We are part of Him. We are
His children by nature. We are born of
Heaven. We are begotten of the Holy
Spirit. The Word has given us life. “Of
His own will He brought us forth.” The
union with the Master and with the
Father is beyond human intelligence.
The natural mind cannot not grasp it.
We stand in the presence of it, beggared
of the ability to fathom it, yet it is ours…
We are partakers of His nature. We are
born of His Spirit. We are indwelt by
His Word. We are kept by His grace…
This same Spirit that raised Jesus from
the dead does dwell in you. You have
asked Him to come in and He has taken
His place in you. This is the very genius
of Christianity. It is God in us. His ability
in us. He takes the weak, the useless and
the outcast, and makes them the leaders by
filling them with Himself. He takes common
men and makes them supermen…What more
could you ask?
You are not a nobody. You are not worthless. Your life is not meaningless. You are somebody, because God in Christ has made their home in you. God is living in you! Christ is living you! You are partakers of His divine nature, His ability, His love and His power in the new birth. He is your Father, your companion, your fellow laborer, your best friend, your comforter, your teacher, and your guide. His presence, His light, His power, and His ability are in you in complete fullness. You are the house of the Lord in this day and time, for the Lord lives and dwells in you.
Ephesians 3:19 (Amplified):
That you may really come to know
practically through experience for
yourselves the love of Christ, which
far surpasses mere knowledge without
experience; that you may be filled
through all your being unto all the
fullness of God [may have the richest
measure of the divine Presence and
become a body wholly filled and
flooded with God Himself]!
God wants you to practically experience the richest measure of His divine presence daily. You have been filled through your entire being with the fullness of God and are wholly flooded with God Himself. The word “filled” in the Greek means: to be filled to the brim and to be filled to capacity. It is like a glass of water that is absolutely filled to the top, where one more drop of water cannot go into it or it will overflow. We are filled to capacity with God’s divine nature, and it fills every cell, every tissue, every corner, and every cranny of our being. However, we must know, understand, and practice this great truth to maintain a living union and connection with Him. We are the house of the living God, so don’t allow that magnificent privilege to lie dormant but commune, fellowship, talk, pray, share, listen, and enjoy your Heavenly Father. Take time to study His Word, to pray continually, to be thankful, and to quietly meditate on His presence in you. Spend time with God and make it a priority. I am not talking about two rushed minutes in the morning when we are running out the door. Its more than 60 seconds reading a devotional or repeating a formalistic prayer written in a book. Spend quality time with God. Pour your heart and soul into it. Be passionate about it. Acknowledge Him and be aware of His presence throughout the day. We are so busy today that even though we have residing in us the fullness of God’s divine nature, we are hardly aware of it. God is sitting closer to us then our breath, awaiting for us to talk to Him, to draw near to Him, to cleave to Him, and to fellowship with Him. Nothing is more important than Him.
What an awesome psalm setting forth the characteristics of the goodness of God revealed in His name Yahweh-Roi . However, there is one more truth about the shepherd, set forth in the gospel of John, that will thrill your heart.
John 10:10,11,14,15,27-29 (Amplified):
The thief comes only in order to
steal and kill and destroy. I came
that they may have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance (to the
full, till it overflows).
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good
Shepherd risks and lays down His
own life for the sheep.
I am the Good Shepherd; and I know
and recognize My own, and My own
know and recognize Me-
Even as truly as the Father knows Me
and I also know the Father-and I am
giving My very own life and laying
it down on behalf of the sheep.
The sheep that are my own hear and
My voice; and I know them, and they
And I give them eternal life, and they
shall never lose it or perish throughout
the ages. [To all eternity they shall
never by any means be destroyed.]
And no one is able to snatch them out
of My hand.
My Father, Who has given them to Me,
is greater and mightier than all else;
and no one is able to snatch them out
of the Father’s hand.
Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, and embodies every good characteristic of the shepherd set forth in Psalm 23. The word “good” in the Greek is kalos, which means: morally excellent, worthy of recognition and a perfect inward nature manifesting itself in an outward shape that is exquisite, beautiful, and genuine. It is perfect in form and nature and an agreeable, admirable impression made by the good as it manifest itself. It is that which is inherently or intrinsically good providing some special or superior benefit. It is the outward expression of inward goodness that is well adapted to the good purpose intended; and is excellent in its nature and characteristics. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of the good shepherd, as he manifested all the excellent, exquisite, and genuine qualities of a shepherd in a magnificent way. All the goodness of the perfect shepherd came forth abundantly in the ministry and life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The beautiful heart of the shepherd in loving, protecting, and caring for His flock is perfectly exemplified in Jesus Christ.
F.B. Meyer wrote the following description of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ:
He has a shepherd’s heart, beating with pure and
generous love that counted not His own life-blood
too dear a price to pay down as our ransom. He has
a shepherd’s eye, that takes in the whole flock and
misses not even the poor sheep wandering away in
the mountains cold. He has the shepherd’s faithfulness,
which will never fail or forsake, leave us comfortless,
nor flee when He sees the wolf coming. He has the
shepherd’s strength, so that He is will able to deliver
us from the jaw of the lion or the paw of the bear. He
has the shepherd’s tenderness; no lamb so tiny that He
will not carry it; no saint so weak that He will not
gently lead; no soul so faint that He will not give it
rest…His gentleness makes great.
Love is the greatest quality of the good shepherd and is at the heart of all the shepherd’s actions for his sheep. The love of Jesus Christ is so deep, so intense, so immense and so complete, that it would be like magnifying the love of the best earthly shepherd in history a thousand times. The love of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd was so great that he made the ultimate sacrifice of laying down His very own life for the sheep. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price and willingly laid down His soul for you. His sacrifice on the cross made life available to everyone who believes in him.
The word “life” in verse 10 is the Greek word zoe,which means: the absolute fullness of life that belongs to God. It is not mere existence, but life in all of its manifestations as God intended it to be. It is life that has the essential qualities of the nature of God and is rooted in His goodness and love. It is truly meaningful life that is lived on its highest plane and is only available in Christ, as II Timothy states that “the promise of life is in Christ Jesus.” It is a life active, passionate, and vigorously devoted to God. It is not only eternal life, but a rich quality of life on Earth, enjoying all of God’s goodness and blessings.
Jesus Christ came that we might have the life of God overflowing in abundance in every aspect of life upon the earth, including physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially. God planted this new life in us when we accepted Christ as our Savior, and it is a seed that contains all of the potential of the fullness of life that Christ lived. It is not a type of life that the world offers, but it is new life in its quality, its purpose, its energy, its direction, and its godly characteristics. It is life that flows from the heart of God that energizes, cleanses, and purifies as it motivates us to live and give our utmost for Him. It does not have the qualities of selfishness, greed, hatred, or bitterness, but is deeply rooted in His love. It is life that has the qualities of love, humility, kindness, strength, courage, gentleness, patience, compassion, empathy, peace, and joy because these are the characteristics of the life-giver, God. It is a new nature, and as Christians we are to continue to grow spiritually in this life and produce fruit as the character of Christ is built within us. The Good Shepherd gave up His perfect life so we could enjoy the greatest quality of life the world has ever known. Not just a sliver or trickle of this life, but Jesus Christ came to give us this life in full abundance until it overflows out of our being like a mighty river.
The Good Shepherd also did what no shepherd could ever do, as he gave us everlasting life that no earthly ruler, legislative decree, devilish device, or worldly power can snatch away from us. It is guaranteed and sealed with the blood of the Good Shepherd. It can never be altered, amended, or destroyed. What a Savior! What a Shepherd! What a Lord! Do you think you can enjoy this life a little more knowing that you have everlasting life as a permanent possession, and you will live with your Lord in a new heavens and earth for billions and billions of years. It is everlasting life with no ending. How good can it get! Thank God you have a secure future because the Good Shepherd paid the ultimate price.
The seventh redemptive name of God, Yahweh-Roi is so rich and full in its meaning, as it sets forth some of the remarkable characteristics of the goodness of our God. The great qualities of the shepherd reached a pinnacle in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.