Family History – A King, A Shepherd, and Fighting Shadows

Roi is a family name in my history on my paternal grandmother’s side. I know it often translates King from their French.  I’ve been delving into family history today and while examining this verse in one of my devotionals “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler, my eye caught the same spelling in Hebrew and a different meaning – Yahweh Roi – The Lord is My Shepherd.


Roi in Hebrew actually translates shepherd, keeper, one who tends.  I haven’t heard that word, tend, used as much as, say, in my teens, when I’d be asked to ‘tend’ a baby.  Webster’s dictionary defines tending as “to apply oneself to the care of : watch over”.  That is more than just watch, as I sometimes did while ‘babysitting’… watch, sure – while on the phone, reading a book, or also watching TV.  I have to admit this mini study puts my history of tending to shame, and gives new meaning to applying oneself to caring for someone else.  Like my shepherd “applied himself” to caring for me.

I cannot apply myself with that intensity or dedication – not of myself I can’t.  I’d like to say, I’d hope I would, but I know there is only hope in looking in the mirror straight on and admitting I can’t. It is impossible.  And that’s ok. I’ve struggled with disappointment in myself because I am less than I want to be. I’ve wept because I felt I was less than others needed. Yet, as I review a recent time of battle in light of this verse, I realize that perhaps once again my heart has longed to leap spiritual barriers and be the keeper, the fixer and then I realize that would mean ursurping the Shepherd’s role.

It reminds me of the story of Cain.  After Cain had murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered, “I know not; am I my brother’s  keeper?”  Obviously not. What an ironic answer.  So what about me – am I to be a brother’s or sister’s keeper?  – a good Samaritan or keep the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself‘?   What if I have looked in the mirror of the commandments (the law) and found evidence to convict myself of despicable possibilities? The enemy whispers that I am not worthy to be a sheep for this Shepherd. I know it is true. How then, can I love anyone as much or more than myself? Well, because I do in essence protect/ look out for / and love myself, I look for redemption.  When I recognize redemption, I latch onto it like a drowning man to a life preserver. That is how I need to love others. By bringing them to my Shepherd.

What a coop if the enemy can sway me to believe, after redemption in my King,  my Keeper, My Lord and My Shepherd that I must continue to fight, or keep, or tend, in my own strength.

It cannot be done.

When I try, that is when I want to lie down and weep and give up. When I am renewed by The Shepherd’s words and power, on the other hand, I can face the battle as the messenger of the Victor.

Feeling pretty silly, I’ll admit, to realize I’ve gone into battle fully outfitted with blazing guns, and realize everyone has gone home – the battle was already over, and I was only fighting shadows.

Aha! The struggle came and continued when I faced the battle as the defender instead of the defendedYahweh Roi – The Lord, my Shepherd – is the only defender and He has already fought and won my battles.

Every one. Oh blessed relief.

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