"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart." Isaiah 40:11a
"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." Isaiah 42:6-7
I love the different characteristics of our God.
He’s the Prodigal’s Father, waiting patiently for His child to return. He’s the Good Shepherd, going after His sheep.
I’ve needed Him to be both at different times in my life, but over the past few years I’ve noticed Christian's dire need for the Lord to be our Good Shepherd. Because...
We wander into dark recesses...
Stand on the edge of dangerous precipices...
Get in painful thickets.
Friends of mine shared with me their need of the Good Shepherd too. They particularly were aware of it during their first year on the mission field. Along with their belongings, they brought overseas high hopes and daring dreams. Bit by bit, they were asked by the Almighty to give up their expectations and walk in faith. “Cold blooded faith” to quote my friend. Killer faith. Faith determined to slaughter their desires. Faith persistent to slay their rights. Faith dogged to ruthlessly burn their flesh.
Faith on a conquest and do you know what? It won. And in its wake it left two people full of joy and direction. With ears bent for guidance on every decision. With hearts humbled and longing to do the Lord’s will. With desires aligned with God’s heart. Two people solely dependent on their Good Shepherd.
Because they’d wandered into some dark recesses where they were called to shine The Light.
Because they stood on a dangerous precipice, staking ground and claiming territory for the Kingdom of heaven.
Because they got in painful thickets with those who were trapped, releasing the captives and setting the prisoners free.
Isaiah 49:9, "...say to the captives, 'Come out,'and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill."
Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."