Heather and I took a flask of coffee, drove out to Minnis Bay, and parked facing the sea. As we sat in the car, sipping our coffee and enjoying the view, a tall young man walked by with his little toddler daughter. Suddenly she simply plumped herself down on the pavement! We watched fascinated as he first reached out his hand encouraging her to get up and walk again. We could see his lips forming the words “Come on – come on”. Then he bent down, took her hand, and gently took her up in his arms. He looked over at us and we gave him a ’thumbs up’. He smiled back at us and went his way with his little daughter snuggled down on his shoulder.
What a picture of fatherly care, love, gentleness, and encouragement. I immediately thought of God’s promise to Israel by the Prophet Isaiah. It is a word of comfort and encouragement, and hope. God is reaching out his hand to a stumbling people. It would be many years before the promise of a Shepherd would be fulfilled, and even then he was rejected.
Shepherds have a prominent and honoured place in God’s plan. Joseph was a shepherd, Moses was a shepherd, and David was a shepherd to name a few. Then, the most significant of all came our own Lord and Saviour Jesus. In John chapter ten Jesus speaks of himself as a shepherd. He is the good shepherd who knows His sheep, lays down His life for His sheep, gives His sheep eternal life, and holds them securely in His hand.
As promised in Isaiah’s prophecy, He feeds, gathers, carries and leads us. Colossians 3 v12 gives us a word picture of a shepherd’s heart encouraging us to be filled with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”. Yes! We can all say with David “The Lord is my Shepherd” and as we follow Him together, by his grace, power and love we can all have a shepherd’s heart. Romans 15 v5 “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus”.
Let’s be blessed and encouraged as we care for each other with shepherd’s hearts.