Friday, September 21, 2012




I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:7

God as our shepherd is one of the Bibles most often used analogies.  He feeds us, he protects us, he leads us, and in many other ways He is our shepherd.  In fact, that is the meaning of one of the names of God, Jehovah-Raah.  “Raah” comes from the Hebrew Rô'eh which means shepherd.  Ah, but it really means even more!
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Luke 15.  The religious people have gathered together and are ridiculing Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners.  Then Jesus, overhearing what they had said, doesn’t turn to fight for His honor, but tells the story of the shepherd of one hundred sheep.

One hundred sheep are in the care of the shepherd. He is leading them, feeding them, fighting off wild animals to protect them.  But then he turns to find out that one sheep is no longer following.  The ninety-nine are still there being obedient to the shepherd, but one is gone astray.  The shepherd risks all ninety-nine, and leaves them to go after the one who has turned the wrong direction and is lost.  And when he finds the one sheep, he puts him around his neck to carry him, and brings him back to the fold to safety.  And then he calls his friends and neighbors together and tells them to rejoice and be happy with him because he has found the lost sheep.
There are many times I’ve prayed that God would leave the ninety-nine and go after the one that has gone astray.  And many times He has proven faithful to bring that one back.  I have no doubt that sometimes that prayer has been prayed over me, and I’ve returned as well.  God’s love is deep pit reaching, in the mire seeking, and never leaving! 

He loves the ninety-nine that are faithful, but His heart is made glad when the one that has gone the wrong way turns back to Him for shelter.  He holds no grudges.  He forgets our sins.  He brings us back to the fold.
The chief meaning of the word “Jehovah” comes from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist" or "to become known".  This denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rô'eh from which Raah comes, means "shepherd" in Hebrew.  But an extend translation of this word is rea', which means "friend" or "companion." This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people.  When the two words are combined - Jehovah-Raah - it can be translated as "The Lord my Friend."

A friend will reach out to the one who has left the fold.  And when he returns, they will hold no grudge.  They will forget the sin.  They will accept that one back with rejoicing and a glad heart. 

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