Come & study God's Word with the ladies of Journey Christian Church of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chapter 15: Jehovah-raah - The Lord my Shepherd

Calls them by name & leads them!  This is the job of a shepherd.  I don't know about you, but with every name of God that we study I think, "this one is my favorite!"  And then we turn the page and I think this all over again!

In Chapter 15 we learned about Jehovah-raah - the Lord my Shepherd.

Before we get started I want to ask you a question... "Do you follow or listen to strangers?"  I know it seems like an odd question now - but just put it on the side burner and we'll address it again in a moment.

Have you ever pictured yourself as a sheep - needing a shepherd?  If not, I hope this chapter did not insult you.  If you have, then you probably found a lot of comfort knowing all the things that our Shepherd - our Jehovah-raah does for us!!!

Kay uses 2 focal passages for our study on Jehovah-raah. 

1.  Psalm 23
2.  John 10:1-17, 26-33

I want to encourage you to go and read them both now before continuing on - even for this blog study!

From the very beginning of Psalm 23 - starting in verse 1, we see Jehovah-raah.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

My friends - we are the sheep and the Lord is our Shepherd.  "What makes the difference in sheep is the shepherd" - says Kay.

We're going to spend some more time with Psalm 23 in a moment, but for now turn to the John passage - John 10.

Kay had us mark key words - we had to do this on our own!  Yikes!  So which words did you mark?

I marked the following:  door, sheep/flock, voice, thief/robber, shepherd

I loved learning about all of these.  Make a list of all that you learned about these different characters.

Here are some of my favorites:
The Shepherd - calls my name, leads me out, sacrifices His life for me
The Sheep - knows the shepherd's voice, follows the shepherd, will NOT follow a stranger and actually flees from him.
The thief/robber - does things their own way, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy

I love that my Lord knows my name - calls me and leads me!!  But He does so much more than that!  Let's read on....

Kay showed us that found in Psalm 23 are all the things that a Shepherd will do.  There are many of them found here - but let's just focus on the first one - He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

Oh, to take a nap in a green pasture!  I can picture it now.  But I wonder, if given the opportunity, would I really be able to rest. 

Have you ever gone to bed and not been able to sleep because your mind was racing - or worrying?

Kay points out that there are four things that must be true before a sheep can rest....

1.  Sheep must be free from hunger.  The Shepherd must provide good pastures for them.
2.  Sheep must be free from fear.  Sheep are timid and defenseless - they can only rest if they know they are being protected.
3.  Sheep must be free from friction.  Tension with other sheep keeps them on their feet.
4.  Sheep must be free from pests.  Flies can get inside a sheep's nose and can ultimately cause their death if not cleaned and protected by the Shepherd's oil.

I hope that you see the benefit of calling the Lord your Jehovah-raah.  That He is a God who feeds you, protects you, helps you handle the points of friction in your life, and heals you of your sores and pests.

The best news of all regarding Jehovah-raah is found in Psalm 23:6

"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Chapter 14: Jehovah-sabaoth - The Lord of Hosts

"My friend, if you come to the end of your strength and need deliverance, you might seek refuge in a place that seems unnatural to you.  You might turn to...

Jehovah-sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts!"

This is a quote from Kay on the first page of this new chapter.  I couldn't think of a better way to say it myself.  Thanks Kay!

Okay, I did a little extra research on this particular Name of God.  I didn't want it to get lost in a sea of all the others that we've been learning.  I'm so glad I did and I can't wait to share what I learned with you!!!

I looked up what "hosts" means and the Hebrew word for hosts is "Tsaba" - meaning, armies, or warfare.  So what we're talking about here is the Lord over the armies!  I even wrote in my Bible God is my Warrior!

Are you in need of a warrior for your circumstances?  Stop and think for a moment (or perhaps it's ever before you and you don't have to "stop" and think) - What is your war?  What is your current battle?  Could you use someone leading the charge to victory in that battle?!  I know I sure could - and we find that "someone" in Jehovah-sabaoth!

He is Lord over Armies!  I like that I can find a military name for my God - especially since I know I'm at war with this world!

I love how Kay further describes this character of God.  It is not a name for you to call upon if you have given up and no longer want to fight!  Rather it is the name of God you call upon when you feel like failure is imminent and you are desperate for deliverance!  "This is the name for those who find their resources inadequate in the midst of a struggle", says Kay.

(just another little extra - if you have an NIV Bible and do not find "Lord of Hosts" in the scriptures we're about to read - this translation has replaced Hosts with Almighty)

So where do we first see Jehovah-sabaoth in the scriptures?  1 Samuel 1:1-11.  Go and read this passage.  We see Hannah crying out to Jehovah-sabaoth when she was desperate for a child.   She was at the end of her emotional rope of taking the abuse from Peninnah and she went to the Lord of hosts!

Another time that we see Jehovah-sabaoth is with David.  Aren't you glad?!  David fought many battles - I, for one, am glad to to know that he called on the Lord of the armies - aren't you?!

1 Samuel 17:42-47.  Read the entire passage - but the verse I want us to focus on is verse 45.

"You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted."

Ouch!  Little young David has brought the big daddy of the army to this one-on-one fight.  The sword, the spear, and the javelin and being a giant - doesn't even stand a chance!!!

What giant holding a sword, spear, and javelin are you facing today?  
Call on Jehovah-sabaoth!!  And He will rescue you!

I can think of no better verse to end this chapter than Zechariah 4:6

"Then he answered and said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but my My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."

When you are at the end of your resources in whatever battle you're facing - say this verse!  Not by might, not by power, sword, spear, or javelin - but by Jehovah-sabaoth!

As my Husband & army Dad would say... Hoo-Ah!

Chapter 13: Jehovah-shalom - The Lord is Peace

Peace.  How often do we pray for just a moment of peace, to have peace in our decisions, to have peace in our homes?  This is what this chapter is all about!

In this chapter of the book, Kay leads us to some incredible verses that show us exactly how to find the peace that we've always wanted.

Read to get started?  I know you'll be saying, "Ahhhhh....." by the time we get to know this name of God!

The Lord is Peace - Jehovah-shalom - we first see this name of God used in scripture with Gideon in the book of Judges.  I love Gideon!  He is not a giant nor does he run with a big strong army.  But with God he leads many victories!

Here in Judges 6 - we find Gideon being visited by the angel of the Lord.  Gideon was very troubled at the time with his current situation.  In fact, listen to this verse and see if you haven't said this same thing to God at one time or another...

Judges 6:13 - 'Then Gideon said to him, O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."

Because of Midian - Gideon and his people had no peace.  Midian has stolen their peace - so to speak.

Who has stolen your peace?  
Are you wondering if you can get it back? 

YES YOU CAN!  (read on to see how)

I love this quote from Kay,
"When the hour is dark and the situation desperate, we finally long for God's peace.  Then we crave it. Our sanity depends on it.  Fear grips up.  We grope through the darkness, longing for peace's reassurance that everything will be all right."

When Gideon realized that he had seen the angel of the Lord - face to face - fear gripped him.  He was afraid that he must die because of this!!!  And then the Lord says this...

"Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."  
Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace" (Judges 6:23-24)

We can experience true peace when we are in a right relationship with God and God alone.

Okay, so if peace comes from a relationship with God - what exactly do I need to do to maintain a right relationship with God?  Kay, gives us several verses to look up and read.  We can learn many things about peace & it's connection to relating to God.  Let's take a look at just a few.

Leviticus 26:2-6 - Go and read this passage.  My favorite part of this passage is this.."I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble."

Wow!  Wouldn't it be nice not to "tremble" over the fears in our lives?!!!  Peace comes from God and He will remove the danger so that we can truly experience His peace.

Isaiah 26:3 - You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.

Okay - so we can experience peace when we keep our mind focused on the Lord AND trusting in Him alone.  Trust & focused attention brings about peace.

Okay just two more....

Psalm 119:165 - Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.

Do you have a love for God's commandments?  If so - you will have great peace.  I don't know about you - but I don't want just a little peace - I want GREAT PEACE!!!

Finally - I want to close with Philippians 4:8-9.  I have an exercise for you to do after you read it through at least once.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in Me, practice these things; and the God of peace will be with you."

Okay, I want you to make a list with the following words:  TRUE, HONORABLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, GOOD REPUTE (good reputation).  Now.... go back and write something from you life that describes these words.  (For example:  beside PURE - I wrote down the love of my little boy).
Got something beside every word?  Good.  Now let your mind dwell on these things!  Not on the worries of this world - but on these things!!

Now make a second list with the following words:  LEARNED, RECEIVED, HEARD, SEEN.  And do the same.  Write something that you have seen in the Lord beside each word.  (For example:  I wrote redemption beside RECEIVED).

Got something for every word?  Good - now practice these things!  And when you dwell and practice all that you've written down... the God of peace will be with you!!!

No matter who or what has stolen your peace - you can get it back!  Trust in the Lord, practice & dwell on Him and He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding! (Philippians 4:4-7)