Depression: Tending the Flock
March 2012 Blog: Isaiah 40:11
"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."
In these brief lines we find the manifold qualities of God the Shepherd of His sheep:
§ Actively involved in caring for us
§ Gently leading
There may be times when we ourselves think or hear others say that God is unjust, unfair or cruel. Why did God allow this to happen? We encounter depictions of human cruelty or natural disasters that cause the death and suffering of thousands. Where is God when we need Him? Well according to the text above – He is tending us- His flock, like a shepherd.
To truly understand the role of the Shepherd, we need to have an even greater understanding of His charges-the sheep. Many writers characterise sheep as feckless, timid, dependent, stubborn, dirty and incapable of self-cleansing. Without a shepherd, the sheep would constantly be in danger- which would ultimately lead to loss of life. With this in mind perhaps we can apportion blame for human calamity upon humanity rather than our creator- after all God gives us free will and when we exercise it without caution, we often end up in trouble.
God’s compassionate nature
Lamentations 3:22 provides us with the right perspective on God’s dealings with mankind: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not they are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” we are told that without the compassion of God our ultimate end would be death both temporal and eternal.
God is actively involved in caring for us
God tells Moses that He would bring the children of Israel out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and get rid their bondage and redeem them with a stretched out arm and great judgements” (Exodus 6:6). We see God intimately involved in their rescue: with warnings, plagues, the Red Sea parting into walls of water; providing “bread from heaven”, accompanying them on their journey as “a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night” (Exodus 14:19,20), and eventually bringing them to the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
God as our Comforter
It is important that we see God as our comforter and not as one who is indifferent to our suffering. We find examples of God’s comfort throughout the bible and personified in the life of Christ on earth: his compassion for the poor, his companionship with publicans and sinners and his healing of the sick. In the Old Testament God sends ravens to feed a fearful Elijah, restores the kingdom to a humbled Nebuchadnezzar and sends a 4th companion to accompany the 3 Hebrew boys in the near death experience of the fiery furnace.
God who leads us
God is our king and leader. In Deuteronomy we find Him warning the Children of Israel against following the ways of the heathen nations in desiring a king. True to our human nature it wasn’t long before that was exactly what happened and Saul the first in the line of many kings was chosen. It is our lack of faith, trust and obedience that leads to “lean on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Through Moses, God was intimately involved in leading the Children of Israel through fire and cloud from Egypt and apostasy through the wilderness to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. In the affairs of David a man after God’s own heart, we see victory after victory that resulted from David’s surrender to God’s leading.
Like the portrayal of the shepherd referred to in the scripture above, God desires the very best for his charges: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
© hopecalls.org, 2012 (all rights reserved)
Joy Comes In The Morning (March 2015)
Joy, God's gift to mankind which helps us to appreciate His Goodness and the Blessings of His Presence...more
Come See A Man (March 2014)
I want to paint a picture of what experiencing the good news ought to be like. To do this, I want to use that well known story...more
The Parable of The Misunderstood Father (June 2016)
The Prodigal son’s story has been replaying in my mind over and over again...more
The Birth of Hope (January 2011)
I can recall when Hopecalls was born, I remember the surge of inspiration, in the surroundings of the New Forest...more
How’s Your Faith Today? (April 2017)
In Romans 12:3, we all have a measure of faith. In fact, if it were not for that measure, we would not be part of this group...more
Reflections on Humility (February 2011)
I have been praying about developing the ability to deny self for a little while now...more
Fear: Casting Pearls Before Swine (March 2011)
I spoke to a friend recently who'd also been experiencing testing times with fear she found a practical answer in claiming the following promise...more
Happiness: Our Walk With Christ (April 2011)
Oh how I wish it was me- I would sit at our Lords feet, nothing could drag me away from His warmth and gentle wisdom. Perhaps I would be different from them...more
Anger: Zeal for Righteousness (May 2011)We too can grow up to become solid and sturdy, robust and promising- but in reality we are working for ourselves and not the master...more
Beside Still Waters (January 2012)
Probably the most famous Psalm of all, the well known, well loved and well remembered, "The Lord's Prayer" seems to have world wide appeal...more
Salvation: A New Beginning (Nov 2013)
When we are separated from God's goodness, we are unable to thrive. As the opening text describes- God's grace saves us when we believe in Him...more
Who Is God To You? (December 2015)
When Moses boldly approached God as a friend and asked him to show him his glory I wonder what he expected...more
Goodness Stored Up! (August 2014)
Part of my exposition of the Goodness of God is to provide his own words in his Word. The wonderful thing about the Word of God is that it is living...more
Repentance: The Only Way Home (August 2013)
Where is God when we need Him? Perhaps this has more to do with the gradual erosion of God, the commandments and anything that appears remotely Christian, as opposed to "religious", from society...more
Peace: The Fruit Of Righteousness (March 2013)
We live in a world where peace is seen as a poor relation to fun, excitement, fame, fortune and popularity...more
Faith: The Substance of Our Hope (January 2013)As believers, there is another type of faith which is more definate as it relates to faith in God...more
A Weary Soul's Rest (October 2012)
Liberally distributed throughout the bible are important statements- bible promises of rest whether physical, emotional or spiritual...more
Peace (August 2012)
Once implemented, the benefits of this exercise so fortify the Christian that they are able to withstand persecution, reviling and insults for their faith...more
Prayer: A Marvellous Journey (June 2012)
I can't deny that in the early days, prayer was like a verbal "talisman" something that I had to say to feel safe at night just in case something happened...more
If Trees Could Walk (May 2012)
Stick with me on this journey while I make this point. When we see people as trees and walking ones at that- we are not seeing our fellow man in the way God intended us to see them...more
Magnify the Lord with Me (April 2012)
Mary must have been a teenager with outstanding faith. Just imagine the scene- she is engaged to be married to Joseph and an angel appears...more
Depression: Tending the Flock (March 2012)
In these brief lines (Isaiah 40:11) we find the manifold qualities of God the Shepherd of His sheep...more
Love: The Spirit's Fruit (February 2012)According to Paul in the verse above one of the functions of the Holy Spirit, is to bear fruit in our lives...more