Heathdale flower 06th August 2020

6 Verses, 8 names for God

Sometimes re-reading gives you a deeper, fresher insight. Especially when we can find an incredible range of names and attributes for God in just six verses of the Psalms.

Heathdale flower

Have you ever found yourself reading a favourite book over and over again? Some people have a habit of re-reading favourite books. For others, this holds no appeal at all.

My wife, Sue and son, Jonathan are avid readers and constantly have a book in their hands. During a recent dinner discussion on what we were currently reading, I learnt that Jon had just completed the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy for the third time! Those of you who have read this lengthy trilogy will appreciate the significance of this feat. When I pressed Jon to find out why he would want to re-read a novel again and again, he told me that it deepened his appreciation for the novel and just confirmed why he liked it in the first place.

Re-reading books helps you discover subtleties you may have missed in the first reading. It enriches the experience of the text as was the case for me when I recently re-read Psalm 23. This is a Psalm that most of us have heard before, read many times or even sung many times. Some could possibly recite it without opening the Bible. It’s a Psalm that never seems to weary; a Psalm that always seems to resonate with our souls.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

- Psalm 23 (The English Standard Version)

As I read this familiar Psalm along with a Bible commentary, it provided a fresh insight that has enhanced my appreciation. The commentary stated, “Today as we come to Psalm 23 we are able to discover one of the names of God, Jehovah my Shepherd or as it is recorded in Hebrew, Jehovah Rohe.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that no description of Jehovah has brought more comfort to the heart or sounded sweeter to the ears of followers of saints of both the Old and New Testaments than this beautiful expression, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’. As one Bible commentator stated: “the phrase, ‘the Lord is my shepherd’, forms the mould into which the faith of countless saints has been poured.”

As we re-read this Psalm and allow its words to touch our minds, hearts and souls we can start to see that it is also a glorious summary of Jehovah’s names and attributes.

He is Jehovah Rohe, the Good Shepherd. As you re-read it you discover there is even more to grasp.

Verse one also contains the words, “I shall not want” which remind us that God is also Jehovah Jireh — the Lord who will provide. Verse two contains the perfect picture of Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of Peace as stated in “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Then with the words, “He restores my soul” we are reminded of the Lord who Heals, Jehovah Rophe.

“As He leads us in the paths of righteousness”, verse 3, God is revealed as Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. Even in the phrase “the valley of the shadow of death” we are not alone for there, God is described as Jehovah Shammah — the Lord who is always there.

The preparation of the table in the wilderness describes God as Jehovah Nissi — the Lord our Banner. And the anointing of our heads with oil reminds us that God is seen as Jehovah Qadesh — the Lord who sanctifies.

What a glorious gathering together of the mighty attributes of our Heavenly Father found in six short verses!

We are so blessed to have such easy access to God’s word these days. This access helps us to fully appreciate the many names and attributes of our God. It is not only an academic understanding, it is also how we can experience God in our everyday lives.

My prayer is that we will be a community that always treasures the access to God’s word. Let us be a people who are able to take full advantage of our opportunities to read and re-read God’s word, the Bible and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, allow it to saturate our hearts, minds and souls. As a consequence, we’ll have deeper insights and a greater love for and appreciation of our Heavenly Father.


Ross Grace

Executive Principal