Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
“He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.”
Without an understanding of what a “shepherd” really is and does, so much significance of this verse is lost!
Over the years I have spent learning to shepherd my own sheep, I have learned what a multifaceted, constant job it is. It has brought me joy to learn that God as my “Shepherd”, means so much more than just, “God is my Leader”; even more than “God is my provider and protector”!
Here are a few of the implications I think of when I read the first line of this verse, “He tends His flock like a shepherd:“
- God assumes responsibility for the needs of His flock. As Shepherd, He not only “feeds” His flock, He assumes responsibility for all our needs, at all ages and stages of life.
- He stands between His flock and the dangers of the world.
- He stands between His flock and their want (going without). He is equipped with skill and resources to provide for them.
- He plans ahead, in advance of our need, going to great lengths to ensure the resources to supply our needs will be on hand in advance of our awareness of need!
- Our Shepherd is vigilant and responsive to our needs 24/7/365.
- He is tending HIS flock, not someone else’s. He is Not tending wild sheep He has to chase down; that won’t follow His because they are scattered to the four winds; that don’t know Him, don’t want to follow Him, or that belong to someone else’s flock.
- God’s character is like that of a shepherd:
- Our Shepherd works loyally and faithfully in all circumstances, even unpleasant ones! As Shepherd, He sets His own comfort aside, because His dedication to tend His sheep is of higher priority to Him. It is His chosen way of life.
- The Shepherd’s compassion is far greater than His pride. No need is so offensive it is off-putting to His desire to heal, provide, care for us. He is willing to work up a sweat. He is willing to get in the middle of the poop. He is willing to work hard and never quit early before all the work is done.
- A Shepherd moves thru the flock gently, exuding a strong, but gentle, quiet presence.
- He approaches the flock with the attitude of a humble, capable servant, not tyrannical demand.
- The Shepherd speaks softly, careful to not alarm the sheep. He moves slowly, calmly, since frightened sheep run away from shepherds, making it impossible to help them!
- The sheep in the Shepherd’s presence feel His strength. They know He is in control. Although they may struggle in alarm when they first feel His hands on them, once they get a taste of His confidence, His calm determination, they readily relax, letting go of fear and nervous anxiety as they give themselves over to His expert care.
Understanding what “Shepherd” fully means makes it easier for me to rest in faith.
by Kelli Miller 2015