I love knowing that God is an all-wise God, and that He is powerful and rules over all. However, there is something even more comforting in knowing Him as the great Shepherd who knows His sheep and wants them, even trains them to know Him. Isaiah’s words are particularly encouraging, as he points out that God – the Shepherd – provides, protects, comforts, and leads.
- He feeds His sheep, wanting them to be healthy, He nurtures them with what He knows they need,
- He carries His lambs, or as one commentary explains – those who are younger in their faith. He will hold them close to His heart, protecting them from danger and comforting them when they are afraid or unsure.
- and “He gently leads the mother sheep with their young.”
- I read somewhere that a shepherd will sometimes carry the young lambs because they can’t keep up, they tire quickly, or they become afraid; but it’s the last part of this verse – “He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young”, that had me most curious. What I found was this beautiful characterization of our God –
[…”gently lead the mother sheep with their young”] means the Shepherd is not only aware of the mother’s concern for her babies, and her torn desire between keeping up with the herd, and keeping up with a baby that needs time, but that He is also sensitive to it and willingly takes action to help her with her concerns. His response is Not, “Oh come on you stupid old sheep!” He is not blind, deaf, nor callous to her needs, her priorities, to what concerns her. He understands, and responds supportively, with patience! … When a mamma sheep knows the shepherd has her baby, she will follow the shepherd to keep up with baby. That He has her baby is her primary motivation for following Him at this time, but He doesn’t mind; she is still following. They, sheep and Shepherd, still have a relationship. She is still learning about Him as her Shepherd, even while her eyes and time are more focused on her lamb. The challenge, for both the sheep and human Christian parents, is to not view trust in the Shepherd, and responsibilities as parents, as two separate, compartmentalized things. Our Shepherd wants to support and nurture us while we carry those responsibilities; not demand more from us on top of it all.https://asheeplikefaith.com/2015/08/14/isaiah-4011, Sheep and Shepherds in Scripture
Response to God’s Word
Father, thank you for who You are – our tender, patient, loving, and gentle Shepherd. Thank You for all the times You have carried us or comforted us when we have been weak or fearful. Thank you for your constant provision and patient guidance. We would be lost without You. We would live in fear and trembling – instead we are safe and secure in Your care.