January 25, 2021

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young—Isaiah 40:11

Have you ever read a more beautiful and comforting description of what the shepherd, our Good Shepherd does? Tends and gathers his sheep up in his arms, carrying them in his bosom, gently leading those that are with young.

Did you grow up seeing that classic portrait of the Shepherd with the little lamb over his shoulders? The little one that was too young to keep up, or injured, or too weak to go on his own, or just needed the Shepherd’s help to manage the terrain? What a beautiful depiction of what Isaiah writes here.

The earthly shepherd tending the flock of sheep had a way of transporting a little lamb that was very young or had been wounded or weak. He or she would tie a sash in a certain way or fold their robe in such a way the sick or injured lamb could be placed inside and carried. In this way the lamb was not too heavy for the shepherd to support. The shepherd could still lead while the flock followed.

This is the way Jesus tends his flock, the vast congregation of believers. This is the way he tends you and me. we belong to those who hear his voice, know and follow him. We can depend on him to be kind and generous, compassionate, discerning, thoughtful, gentle; to be our loving, supportive, compassionate, intuitive shepherd in every aspect of our life and circumstances.

Here is our comfort, our confidence, our encouragement: we will never be too much for the Shepherd to support or carry. He will never be too busy to attend to us. He will never stand by and watch us struggle on wobbly spiritual legs and ignore our need to be supported and strengthened. Never be oblivious to our circumstances or condition. Never disregard our prayers and pleas for help.

Our Shepherd is not just wonderful and amazing, he is thoughtful, protective, kind and considerate; more than these he is strong enough, powerful enough to carry us for as long as we have need. This is the care God wants us to feel secure in. We can live life confidently and emerge victorious when we know the Shepherd tends to us in every way, always and forever.

Jesus you are our wonderful Shepherd. You pick us up when we fall down, bind us close to your bosom when we have been injured in life, need cuddling or strengthening. You pay attention to us and always have time for us. We are the sheep of your fold and you are our Shepherd who tends. Amen                  

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