He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11
The weather outside was threatening, and the alert on my cell phone warned about the possibility of flash floods. An unusual number of cars were parked in my neighborhood as parents and others gathered to pick up children at the school bus drop-off point. By the time the bus arrived, it had started to rain. That’s when I observed a woman exit her car and retrieve an umbrella from the trunk. She walked towards a little girl and made sure the child was shielded from the rain until they returned to the vehicle. What a beautiful “real time” picture of parental, protective care that reminded me of the care of our heavenly Father.
The prophet Isaiah forecast punishment for disobedience followed by brighter days for God’s people (Isaiah 40:1–8). The heavenly dispatch from the mountain (v. 9) assured the Israelites of God’s mighty presence and tender care. The good news, then and now, is that because of God’s power and ruling authority, anxious hearts need not fear (vv. 9–10). Included in the announcement was news about the Lord’s protection, the kind of protection shepherds provide (v. 11): vulnerable young sheep would find safety in the Shepherd’s arms; nursing ewes would be led gently.
In a world where circumstances aren’t always easy, such images of safety and care compel us to look confidently to the Lord. Those who trust wholeheartedly in the Lord find security and renewed strength in Him (v. 31).
Father, in a world where we are sometimes threatened, we are comforted because of Your gracious care for us—in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The good news is that God cares for us!
We also see the shepherd imagery in the New Testament when Jesus is described as our Good Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11) and “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep” (vv. 14–15). Just as a shepherd watched over, provided for, and protected his sheep against danger and death and even pursued them when lost (Psalm 23:1–3; Luke 15:4), Jesus laid down His life for our sins and then rose again so that we would have the opportunity to live forever with Him (John 3:16). By doing so, He freed all who receive Him as Savior from the clutches of our enemy, Satan, and from eternal misery. And in this life, our Shepherd leads and guides us along the way. We need not fear, for He is with us (Psalm 23:4). He loves us and knows us (John 10:14–15).
In what area of your life do you need the comfort of the Good Shepherd?