Rabbi Schneider - Why is God Called a Shepherd?
God, in the Hebrew Bible, reveals himself as Savior. And in his saving relationship to his people, he gave us his personal name, Yahweh. And then he connected his holy name to the functioning activities that he's doing in and for his people because of his saving covenant with them. I really want to encourage you, get this entire series because everything that I've talked about you can believe God to do for you. As I've been saying, some things we can pray about and we don't know for certain that some of the things that we're asking for God's gonna answer, because some of them are just, you know, they're our thoughts, they're out plans. We hope God wants to do them, but we don't know. In other words, you're thinking about buying a certain property. You pray to God about it. Well maybe God's got a better property for you, right. I mean, there are some things that we're not quite sure about.
We bring all our requests to Father, but some of them we're not quite sure what his will is. But when we're looking at the covenant names of God, every time Father connected his name to a saving function that means his will absolutely and most certainly is to do that thing that he's connected his name to for you. So I want to encourage you, get this entire series because it will really give you truth to sink your faith into. And when you incorporate this truth into your prayer life, Father God will most certainly bring to pass those things in your life that you're praying for. In other words, last week I talked about Yahweh Shalom, the Lord is peace. When you make praying for peace a focus of your prayer life, you can be 100% certain God will strengthen you in his peace.
With that introduction today, I want to continue on to the next sacred name of Yahweh today that we're gonna be looking at, Yahweh Rohi, listen now, the Lord our Shepherd. You see, Father God has promised, listen now, to be the Shepherd of his people. What does that mean? The best place for us to see what it means, what we can trust in as we believe that Father's our Shepherd, is Psalm, number 23, right, the most famous Psalm in the entire Bible. Let's look at Psalm, 23, together. We begin Psalm, 23, verse 1. It says, in the original, Yahweh is Rohi. The LORD is my Shepherd. I want you to think about that is. It's not that the Lord was your Shepherd. It's not that he will be your Shepherd. But right now, get it church, Yahweh is involved in your life and he's your Shepherd. He's alive. God is active. In fact, God's sacred name, Yahweh, is actually a verb, continuous, unfinished action. He is present acting right now in your life and my life as our Shepherd as we are looking to him and saying yes to him.
So we hear that the Lord's my Shepherd, but what does that actually mean? How can we sink our faith into understanding what Father God will do to us because he's our Shepherd as our Shepherd? Well David spells all that out in Psalm, 23. I want you to believe. I want to ask you to believe this for yourself. Don't look at Psalm, 23, as just a pleasant poem. Don't look at it simply as something that you would read on a Christian greeting card or on a Jewish greeting card. But believe that God's the same yesterday, today and forever. And what David said he did for him in Psalm, 23, beloved one, he will also truly, most definitely do for you and I today as we open our lives to him, and look to him, and give ourselves to him. So let's take a look, Psalm, 23. Yahweh is Rohi. Yahweh is my Shepherd. So the covenant name there, once again, Yahweh Rohi, meaning the Lord is my Shepherd. Now what does this mean that the Lord's our Shepherd? Here we go: I shall not want.
So the first thing that you can trust in is that everything that you need, he's gonna provide for you. Now as we said, it doesn't mean that everything we want he'll provide necessarily, even though God's a great God and he provides us so many things that we do want. I mean he gives us so many presents, so many gifts. He's a good God. But what he's promised to do, beloved, is to provide for our real absolute needs. Jesus said, don't worry about what you're gonna eat tomorrow. Don't worry about having a roof over your head. Don't worry about having clothes. He said, your Father knows you have need of all these things. So David said, I shall not want. Father will provide for me. At the end of the day, your job is something that has been assigned to you right now, if you have a job. You should do your best there, but you know what? If you lost your job, you'd still have food on your plate. Father God provides for the needs of his people. They shall not want.
Let's continue on. What does it mean that Father's our Shepherd? He makes me lie down in green pastures. This is what we looked at last week. Yahweh Shalom, he gives me peace. He leads me beside the quiet waters. This speaks of rest. Jesus said, come to me all you that are weary and heavy laden. I will give you rest. This is real. God's Spirit is rest. I want you to hear me now, beloved. The Bible says those that are gonna have a relationship with God, in the Book of Hebrews, must number one, believe that he is, and that involves believing that he'll do what Psalm, 23, says he'll do. So number one, if we're gonna walk with God and experience him, we must number one, believe that he is. And then secondly, we must know that he's a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. So once again those who are gonna please God must believe that he is and that he's a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. What I'm doing is I'm challenging you believe this truth that I'm sharing with you for yourself. Sink your teeth into it. Move into believing this for your life. Declare it over your life.
Let's continue on, verse 3: He restores my soul. Some of you are still really, and all of us to some degree, still need healing in our lives. We need healing in our soul, maybe healing in your body. Some of us have been through things even as, as babies, and young people. Maybe our parents got divorced. Maybe something happened to you when you were a child. You know what? Jesus said, I'm your Shepherd and I will restore, hear me now, your soul. Some of you are still struggling with trust issues. You're having a hard time maintaining a marriage relationship because of trust issues. You were hurt or betrayed in the past. You had people in your life that weren't faithful so now you're finding that your relationships keep on ending in brokenness. And a lot of it's because sometimes, church, our souls aren't restored because we don't have trust.
And hear me when I say this, the world says that time heals all things. But the truth is, time doesn't always heal everything. But Jesus does. He said the Lord is your Shepherd, hear me now, and no matter what you've been through, maybe you were even sexually abused, the Lord can restore and will restore your soul. I want you to know, there's some things that happen to us in life that we can't recuperate from apart from the supernatural. But, Hallelujah, and praise Jesus, because of him we will and we do recuperate. I want to encourage you to believe right now, believe in Father God to restore your soul. Wherever there's brokenness, wherever the wounds are, at whatever period it happened in your life, I want to encourage you to focus on making this a matter of prayer in your walk with Father, asking him daily to restore your soul. And you're gonna find, beloved one, child of God, little by little, day by day, month by month, and year by year Father is gonna restore your soul.
One of the first things that Jesus said when he announced himself as the Messiah, he was in the temple, he said, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. And one of the things he said was this. He said, to restore the broken hearted. One of the biggest parts of Jesus's ministry to his sheep is restoring their broken heartedness. And so let's believe Jesus. I want you to know, Jesus loves you. He loves you. He's a friend like no other. He is the one that loves you more than any... There's no way to compare his love for you with anybody else because he created you for himself. And as you and I... I just want to pray. I just feel led to pray.
Father God, I just lift up every child of yours that's listening right now and Spirit of God, you're ministering to them. There's a rolling anointing that's coming forth through your words, that are moving forth through me into the lives of many of these that are watching. Deep inside you're touching them, Father. They need restoration right now, Father. You said that what we loose on earth would be loosed in heaven. And I loose right now, Father, in Jesus's name, healing and restoration over the hearts, and lives, and even the minds of your people. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to us and being the Father's restoration to us. We receive it and we believe it.
And I want you to practice, beloved one, I'm talking to you right now that are watching, begin to declare over your life that Father is restoring and has restored your soul.
Let's continue on, verse 3. As our Shepherd, what does Father Yahweh do? He guides us in paths of righteousness. Listen again: He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Remember, we're looking today at Father's sacred name, Yahweh Rohi, the Lord is my Shepherd. And now we're going to Psalm, 23, to understand all it means when we say the Lord's our Shepherd. And one of the things Father does for us as our Shepherd, one of the things Yahweh Rohi is doing, listen, is he's guiding our paths in righteousness. Look again, verse number 3: He guides me in the paths of righteousness. What does it mean when we say he's guiding me in the path of righteousness? Think of it this way, in the most simple terms.
Listen, he's guiding you and I in the right paths. He's guiding us in his paths. I'm so happy that Father God has boundaries to our left and to our right, and that his sheep, when they're truly looking to him, if they begin to go astray, he gets them back to the center. He's guiding us in paths of righteousness. He opens doors that no man can shut. He shuts doors that no man can open. He brings things into our life to keep us moving forward, beloved, in the right path. Doesn't that give you security? That gives me such comfort and such security knowing that it's not all up to me to get it right every single time. If I'm really looking to the Father, I can trust him to guide me. And it doesn't mean that every thought that I think is gonna be right; that everything I say is gonna be right; that every step I take is gonna be right. But what it means is, is that I'm keeping, as I'm keeping my eyes on him he is moving me forward in the right path.
A friend of mine says, you know what, it's a little bit like a bowling alley for kids where they put those bumpers in, in, in the aisles, the, you know the gutters there. They put, they put, they fill the gutters with like foam so that if a little child comes to bowl and the ball begins to go into the gutter, there's something in that gutter that knocks it back into the center. And that's what I like to think of when I think of Father guiding me in the paths of righteousness. He keeps on keeping me going forward so that even if I get a little off to the left, or even if I get a little off to the right, as I'm looking to him he's gonna keep me moving forward. As our Shepherd he's guiding you and I, beloved one, in paths of righteousness. I want you to know, God loves you and you can trust Father to do this for you. He's actively involved in your life. He's really doing these things.
Let's continue on, verse number 4. David said: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil, for You are with me. One thing that's important to understand when David wrote this Psalm, he wasn't living in the palace, sitting in a chair, basking in the sun while his servants were serving him wine. David was in the midst of the battle. He was in the midst of conflict. His enemies were pursuing his life. It looked like a very dangerous situation in the natural. Yet in the midst of the danger, David declared that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil for thou art with me. You know what, beloved? We live in a dangerous world, right. This is not new news. But we can trust God and not be afraid because our God is bigger than this world. And Father wants to declare this over your life. He's saying to you and I right now, do not be afraid for I am with you. In fact, over a hundred times in the Scripture, Father God said to us, do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous for I am with you. Jesus said, I am with you even to the end of the age. Do not be afraid.
Let's continue on. God's our Shepherd, no matter what, you don't have, beloved one, to be afraid. He continues in verse number 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You know what? The Bible says that when Jesus returns many that are last shall be first and many that are first shall be last. I want you to know, God is gonna bring justice. God is gonna bring something into your life that it's gonna create the, the, the level equal playing field so that you don't have to feel that your enemies have got victory over you. But rather what you're gonna feel is complete freedom and complete victory when you see Jesus face to face.
You know, many of the Psalms and the Proverbs of the Old Testament speak about, what about the wicked that seem to be prospering? What about this enemy of mine that doesn't even think about God, that doesn't care about God, that's completely in the wrong, and yet they seem to be prospering? And here I am, and I'm seeking after you, God, and I'm trying to do what's right; and yeah I'm tithing. I'm doing, I'm doing all these things to love you, and yet I've got these problems. But the Lord said, you know what, just hang on because I'm gonna create a feast before you. I'm gonna create a feast for you and even your enemies are gonna see it. Beloved, you're gonna be reward. Everything that you've done for Jesus you're gonna be rewarded for, and God's gonna prepare a feast for you in the presence of your enemies.
Let's continue on here. David continues here: You've anointed my head with oil. This is, you can trust Father God to continue to pour out his Spirit on you more and more as you're seeking him, as you're praying. Believe God for this. He's your Shepherd. He's alive again. He's active in your life. My cup overflows. And then finally, verse 6: Surely goodness and lovingkindness, listen to this now, will follow me all the days of my life. So many of us struggle with fear of the future. What's gonna happen in the future? What's gonna happen to my loved ones? What's gonna happen when I get old? What's gonna happen with my finances? The devil is constantly trying to hurt us. He's constantly trying to make us afraid. The devil wants to bring torment. And so we struggle with the spirit of doom. How many of you deal with that? I know I do at times. The devil will try to bring fear onto my life. But you know what? It never turns out the way that he says.
Father God is so faithful. What God's Word said is, is true. Surely goodness and lovingkindness, listen, will follow you all the days of your life. I want you to reject the spirit of doom right now. Some of you right now, I want you to, if you're able to, get off your chair, get off your couch. You've been struggling with the fear of the future. You don't even know what it is, some of you. You're just afraid. You just have this sense something bad's gonna happen tomorrow. Something bad's gonna happen to my child. Something bad's gonna happen when I grow old; just this sense of fear. But the Lord has said something totally different over your life. He has said, surely, listen, goodness and lovingkindness will follow you all the days of your life; not those thoughts of gloom, and doom, and fear, and destruction that the devil's tormenting us with. Those aren't true. Those are lies. That's false evidence appearing real, as one of our other TV ministers says. No, instead Father God's got good plans for you that are gonna pursue you all the days of your life.
And in the Hebrew there, it's not just that lovingkindness and goodness will follow you from behind, but the Hebrew actually implies that they'll overtake you; that God's goodness, his lovingkindness for his children actually chases them down and overtakes them. Beloved, Father God wants us to smile. He wants us to be happy. He wants us confident in him. So I want to ask you right now, would you break the agreement that's been in your heart and mind with spirits of gloom and doom, spirits of fear and destruction about, about tomorrow? Would you break agreement with those thoughts? Would you reject those thoughts and instead come into agreement with Father God? Will you do that right now? I want to ask you, let's break agreement with the powers of darkness. Here we go. We're just gonna say to Father right now:
Father God, thank you today for loving me so much. Father, right now I break agreement with fear. I break agreement with spirits of doom and gloom about the future. I reject those thoughts. They're Satanic and they're lies. I reject those thoughts. And Father, I declare right now that I believe in your love for me. I believe in Jesus's love for me. And I believe your Word, Father, when you say to me your lovingkindness and goodness will follow me all the days of my life, and I'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Father, I believe that. I believe my future's gonna be good; that you're gonna be in my future, and that your lovingkindness and goodness will always be present. Father, from now on I'm gonna fight the fight of faith. I'm gonna believe in you. I believe that you love me. And I believe that my future is good.