God as Gentle Shepherd
The picture of the Mighty Warrior is balanced by a second picture: that of God as a gentle shepherd. Isaiah says, He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms. This is a picture of God’s compassion and protection. He holds His people, leads those who are weak. He protects the vulnerable in His flock.
What a comforting thought! Not only is God the mighty warrior, fighting on behalf of His people. He is also a gentle shepherd, tenderly caring for His people. He’s mighty and powerful, but also gentle and compassionate.
Psalm 23 begins with this beautiful line: the Lord is my Shepherd. The shepherd leads His flock, guiding them away from danger and leading them to places of quiet rest. The shepherd makes sure the sheep are nurtured, makes sure they receive the care they need. Of course, Jesus references this idea when he says in John 10:11, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus contrasts a hired hand with a true shepherd; the hired hand cares nothing for the sheep, while the true and good shepherd is focused on caring for those in his flock.
We should note the same thing we said in the previous post: God has not retired from being the shepherd of our souls. He still tends His flock and gathers the lambs in His arms. He feeds you, cares for you, holds you close to His heart.
This is summarized by another comment Isaiah makes about the “arms” of God. Of the Divine Warrior, he says his arm rules for him. But of the Gentle Shepherd, Isaiah says he will gather the lambs in his arms. Picture this: those same arms that are mighty to defeat our enemies are also the tender arms of eternal care and compassion.
Behold, our God is a gentle shepherd.