May 20, 2014

Yahweh Ra'ah: "the Lord Is My Shepherd"

Ezekiel 34:25-31

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
—Psalm 23:1


The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy against the “shepherds of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:2). The religious leaders of Israel had been seeking their own advantage rather than taking care of the peo-ple of Israel, their flock. God lashed out against this corruption.

Sheep and shepherds are common metaphors in the Old Testament. God is often mentioned as the shepherd of his people Israel. Only once, though, do we find the name Yahweh Ra’ah, meaning “The LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).

The Hebrew word ra’ah, meaning “shepherd,” describes one who tends, leads, feeds, and protects his flock of sheep. As a shepherd cares for his flock, so Yahweh Ra’ah cares for his people, providing for all their needs and guiding and protect-ing them. Yahweh Ra’ah cares for his covenant people as a flock and as individual, precious sheep.

The closing verses of Ezekiel 34 make clear the magnificent ways in which Yahweh Ra’ah promises to care for his sheep. He doesn’t disappoint. And in the New Testament, Jesus pro-claims himself to be Yahweh Ra’ah, saying, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:14).

The Lord is your good shepherd. Lean on him, for he protects and provides and cares for you.

Good Shepherd, you provide for our needs, guide, and protect us. Help us to take comfort in your care today and always. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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