The Good Shepherd
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11
I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me.
As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. That was just what I needed, Lord, I breathed silently. I felt enveloped in God’s peace during and after the surgery (which thankfully went well).
The Lord promised His people through the prophet Isaiah that He would be their shepherd, guiding them in their daily lives and giving them comfort. We too can know His gentle tending as we tell Him our anxious thoughts and seek His love and peace. We know that He is our Good Shepherd, holding us close to His heart and carrying us in His everlasting arms.
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Thank You for the gift of Your sacrificial love and for the peace that passes all understanding.
Read Oswald Chamber’s thoughts on worry at utmost.org/one-of-god’s-great-don’ts/.
The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.
Isaiah 40 starts a significant shift in the book of Isaiah, from grief and pronouncements of judgment for Israel’s sin, to a note of rock-solid comfort (v. 1), forgiveness, and healing—based entirely on God’s mercy and goodness. When the prophet wonders whether the people are too weak and fickle for this message, he is reminded that God’s restoration is not based on them, but only on God’s powerful word (v. 8).
In fact, Isaiah 40 is the first Old Testament text that explicitly articulates the theme of “good news” (v. 9) so important in the New Testament. This good news is that God’s powerful love in our lives does not depend on us. Despite our sin, we can always rely on our merciful God who will both tenderly care for us like a shepherd (v. 11) and, like a mighty warrior (v. 10), powerfully transform our lives.
In order to trust God with our deepest struggles, why do we need Him to be both tender like a shepherd and powerful like a warrior?