Like a shepherd He will tend His flock
Isaiah 40:9-11 New American Standard Bible 9 Go up on a high mountain, Zion, messenger of good news, Raise your voice forcefully, Jerusalem, messenger of good news; Raise it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His compensation is with Him, And His reward before Him. 11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in the fold of His robe; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
The Lord speaks through Isaiah commanding the city of Zion and Jerusalem to declare the good news. We must remember that Isaiah lived before the exile of Judah. He spoke of things to come because the Lord inspired his words and we know that God knows all things. He sees all things. There is nothing happening on the earth outside of the control of Almighty God.
The phrase good news is used twice. What is the good news to be proclaimed? It is “Here is your God”. God has not abandoned His people. He is the faithful one. God will always fulfill every promise and when anyone is in covenant relationship with the Living God they can know in their hearts that God is fighting for them. When Judah went into exile for seventy years I am sure there were many of Israel that felt God had abandoned them. But even in exile the Lord was doing a deep work. It is important for us to fix our eyes upon Jesus and the promises of His word. The devil will always try to get us to focus on our present circumstances and season. But God is faithful.
The Lord says “behold, the Lord will come with might”. That word might means firm, hard, strong, heavy, severe, powerful. If there is ever a moment of doubt that tries to creep into our minds concerning the faithfulness of God and His power, we need to understand it comes directly from the devil. God will accomplish His purposes and plans according to His power and His might. It is not dependent on the might and power of man. If it was, nothing would ever be accomplished. But throughout the history of Israel and the history of the church all that God has planned and purposed, He has accomplished. When we understand this truth it impacts the way we pray, and it directly impacts the way we live.
God speaks of His arm ruling for Him. He brings forth His reward. These are simply pictures of the mighty warrior that God is. In war during the times of Israel there were great rewards and spoils for the victor. But here the Lord speaks of His great reward. He will be the one who will move and bring forth Judah out of exile. Throughout chapters 1 through 39 in Isaiah the Lord has spoken concerning the judgement of Israel for her wickedness and sin. But God doesn’t end His word through Isaiah there. For as we move through chapters 40 through 66 it is a message of hope because the focus is the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom. We know that this is all fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This is why we must fix our hearts upon Jesus Christ.
Jesus during His earthly ministry said “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11-18). David writes in Psalm 23 “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want”. Countless verses throughout the word of God demonstrate to us that God is our Shepherd. Jesus even told us that our Father in Heaven knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). Here the Lord says “He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in the fold of His robe”. All of these words point to the loving care of God Almighty.
Even though Israel has lived in rebellion over and over again. Even though they have turned their hearts away from the worship of the Lord to the worship of false idols, the Lord has never abandoned nor forsaken them. He will discipline in His love, because He loves us. If He left us to live in our sin, we would ultimately destroy ourselves. But when God looks at us He sees us as children. Here the Lord describes Israel as “nursing ewes”. All of us are sheep who have gone astray. It is Jesus who has found us. It is Jesus who has rescued us. Our eyes and hearts must be fixed upon Jesus growing in Him every day. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.