Shall gently lead those that are with young "The nursing ewes shall he gently lead" - A beautiful image, expressing, with the utmost propriety as well as elegance, the tender attention of the shepherd to his flock. That the greatest care in driving the cattle in regard to the dams and their young was necessary, appears clearly from Jacob's apology to his brother Esau, Genesis 33:13; : "The flocks and the herds giving suck to their young are with me; and if they should be overdriven, all the flock will die." Which is set in a still stronger light by the following remark of Sir John Chardin: "Their flocks," says he, speaking of those who now live in the east after the patriarchal manner, "feed down the places of their encampments so quick, by the great numbers that they have, that they are obliged to remove them too often, which is very destructive to their flocks, on account of the young ones, who have not strength enough to follow." Harmer's Observ. i., p. 126.
He shall feed his flock - In the previous verse, the fact had been asserted that God would come to subdue his foes, and to reward his people. In this verse, the mild and gentle character of his government over his people is predicted. It would not be that of a conqueror over vanquished subjects; but it would be mild and tender, like that of a shepherd who carries the lambs, which are unable to walk, in his own arms, and gently leads along the feeble and the delicate. The verb translated “to feed‘ (ירעה yire‛eh ), denotes more than our word feed at present. It refers to all the care of a shepherd over his flock; and means to tend, to guard, to govern, to provide pasture, to defend from danger, as a shepherd does his flock. It is often applied in the Scriptures to God represented as the tender shepherd, and especially to the Redeemer Psalm 23:1; Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4. It is often applied to a leader or a ruler of a people 2 Samuel 5:2; 2 Samuel 7:7; Jeremiah 32:2. Thus Homer often uses the phrase, ποιμήν λαῶν poimēn laōn - ‹shepherds of the people,‘ to denote a ruler, or monarch. Here it denotes that God would evince toward his people the same tender care, guardianship and protection, which a shepherd shows for his flock.
He shall gather the lambs with his arm - This is a most beautiful expression, denoting the care of God the Saviour for the feeblest and weakest of his people, and for the young and feeble in years and piety. A similar thing is often done by a shepherd. The tender lamb, unable to keep up with the flock, becomes weary and exhausted; and the shepherd naturally takes it in his arms and carries it. Such a shepherd as this Virgil beautifully describes:
En, ipse capellas
Protenus aeger argo; hancetiam vix, Tityre, duco;
Hic inter densas corylos modo namque gemellos,
Spem gregis, Ah! silice in nuda connixa reliquet.
Eclog. i. 12.
Lo! I my goats urge fainting o‘er the mead;
This, feebler than the rest, with pains I lead.
Yean‘d mid yon herds upon the flinty plain,
Her dying twins, my flock‘s late hope, remain.
And shall gently lead - Margin, ‹Give suck.‘ This is the more correct translation. It denotes the dams of the flock that would be easily exhausted by being overdriven, and of which there was, therefore, special care necessary. Thus Jacob says to his brother Esau, Genesis 33:13: ‹The flocks and the herds giving suck to their young are with me, and if they should be overdriven all the flock will die.‘ Of the necessity of such care and attention there is abundant evidence, and indeed it is manifest at a glance. Dr. Shaw, speaking of the exposure of the flocks in Syria, says: ‹The greatest skill and vigilance, and even tender care, are required in the management of such immense flocks as wander on the Syrian plains. Their prodigious numbers compel the keepers to remove them too frequently in search of fresh pastures, which proves very destructive to the young that have not strength to follow.‘ The following extract from Anderson‘s Tour through Greece will also serve to illustrate this passage: ‹One of the great delights in traveling through a pastoral country, is to see and feel the force of the beautiful imagery in the Scriptures, borrowed from pastoral life.
All day long the shepherd attends his flock, leading them into “green pastures,” near fountains of water, and chooses a convenient place for them to “rest at noon.” At night he drives them near his tent; and, if there is danger, encloses them in the fold. They know his voice, and follow him. When traveling, he tenderly watches over them, and carries such as are exhausted in his arms. Such a shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ.‘ No description could more beautifully describe the character of the Redeemer. In the New Testament, he is often described as a kind and tender shepherd, and regarding the welfare of all his flock, and as ready to give his life for them John 10:7, John 10:9-11, John 10:14-15; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4. We are here also strikingly reminded of the solemn command which he gave to Peter, evincing his tender regard for his flock, ‹Feed my lambs:‘ ‹Feed my sheep‘ John 16:15-17. It proves in regard to the Redeemer:
1. That his nature is mild, and gentle, and tender.
2. That he has a kind regard for all his flock, and will consult the real interest of all, as a shepherd does of his flock.
3. That he has a special solicitude for the feeble and infirm, and that they will be the objects of his tender care.
4. That he feels a particular solicitude for the young. He knows their feebleness; he is acquainted with their temptations; he sees the importance of their being trained up with care; and he looks with deep interest, therefore, on all the efforts made to guard them from the ways of sin, and to train them up for his service (compare the note at Isaiah 42:3).
“I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” “I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.” DA 476.1
Again Jesus found access to the minds of His hearers by the pathway of their familiar associations. He had likened the Spirit's influence to the cool, refreshing water. He had represented Himself as the light, the source of life and gladness to nature and to man. Now in a beautiful pastoral picture He represents His relation to those that believe on Him. No picture was more familiar to His hearers than this, and Christ's words linked it forever with Himself. Never could the disciples look on the shepherds tending their flocks without recalling the Saviour's lesson. They would see Christ in each faithful shepherd. They would see themselves in each helpless and dependent flock. DA 476.2
This figure the prophet Isaiah had applied to the Messiah's mission, in the comforting words, “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! ... He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isaiah 40:9-11. David had sung, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1. And the Holy Spirit through Ezekiel had declared: “I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them.” “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.” “And I will make with them a covenant of peace.” “And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen; ... but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.” Ezekiel 34:23, 16, 25, 28. DA 476.3Read in context »
In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man's theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ's servants to teach. “The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ's name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. DA 826.1
The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters. DA 826.2
In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing. “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God.” “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! ... He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isaiah 40:1, 9-11. Tell the people of Him who is “the Chiefest among ten thousand,” and the One “altogether lovely.” The Song of Solomon 5:10, 16. Words alone cannot tell it. Let it be reflected in the character and manifested in the life. Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29. In every one Christ's long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world. DA 826.3Read in context »
To Israel the promise was made: “Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee.” Verses 4, 5. PK 696.4
“I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory.” Isaiah 46:13. PK 696.5
In word and in deed the Messiah, during His earthly ministry, was to reveal to mankind the glory of God the Father. Every act of His life, every word spoken, every miracle wrought, was to make known to fallen humanity the infinite love of God. PK 696.6Read in context »
15. Usefulness Not Proved by Noise and Bustle—We need a calm waiting upon God. The need of this is imperious. It is not the noise and bustle we make in the world which proves our usefulness. See how silently God works. We do not hear the noise of His steps, and yet He is walking about us, laboring for our good. Jesus did not seek for notoriety; His life-giving virtue was going out to the needy and the afflicted through silent actions, whose influence extended far into all countries and was felt and expressed in the life of millions of human beings. Those who desire to labor with God have need of His Spirit every day; they need to walk and labor in meekness and humility of spirit, without seeking to accomplish extraordinary things, satisfied to do the work before them and doing it faithfully. Men may not see or appreciate their efforts, but the names of these faithful children of God are written in heaven among His noblest workers, as scattering His seed in view of a glorious harvest. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Manuscript 24, 1887). 4BC 1144.1
Take Time to Rest, Think, Appreciate—The Lord wants human beings to take time to rest, time to think of and appreciate heavenly things. Those who do not value the things of heaven sufficiently to give time to them will at last lose all (Letter 181, 1903). 4BC 1144.2Read in context »
The truths of the third angel's message have been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the Living One. He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star. Through this message the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world. The call is to be sounded: “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” Isaiah 40:9-11. 6T 20.1
Now, with John the Baptist, we are to point men to Jesus, saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Now as never before is to be sounded the invitation: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” John 7:37; Revelation 22:17. 6T 20.2
There is a great work to be done, and every effort possible must be made to reveal Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour, Christ as the Sin Bearer, Christ as the bright and morning Star; and the Lord will give us favor before the world until our work is done. 6T 20.3Read in context »
In my earlier experiences in the message, I was called to meet this evil. During my labors in Europe and Australia, and more recently at the San Jose camp meeting in 1905, I had to bear my testimony of warning against it, because souls were being led to look to man for wisdom, instead of looking to God, who is our wisdom, our sanctification, and our righteousness. And now the same message has again been given me, more definite and decisive, because there has been a deeper offense to the Spirit of God. TM 478.1
God is the Teacher of His people. All who humble their hearts before Him will be taught of God. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The Lord wants every church member to pray earnestly for wisdom, that he may know what the Lord would have him do. It is the privilege of every believer to obtain an individual experience, learning to carry his cares and perplexities to God. It is written, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” TM 478.2
Through His servant Isaiah, God is calling His church to appreciate her exalted privilege in having the wisdom of the Infinite at her command: “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. TM 478.3Read in context »
This is the kind of medical missionary work to be done. Bring the sunshine of the Sun of Righteousness into the room of the sick and suffering. Teach the inmates of the poor homes how to cook. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd,” with temporal and spiritual food.—Manuscript 105, 1898. CME 23.1Read in context »
Youthful talent, well organized and well trained, is needed in our churches. The youth will do something with their overflowing energies. Unless these energies are directed into right channels, they will be used by the youth in a way that will hurt their own spirituality, and prove an injury to those with whom they associate. GW 211.1
Let the heart of the instructor be linked with the hearts of those under his charge. Let him remember that they have many temptations to meet. We little realize the objectionable traits of character given to the youth as a birthright, and how often temptation comes to them as a result of this birthright. GW 211.2
The guarding care that the under-shepherd will give the lambs of his flock is well illustrated by a picture I have seen representing the Good Shepherd. The shepherd is leading the way, while the flock follow close behind. Carried in his arms is a helpless lamb, while the mother walks trustingly by his side. Of the work of Christ, Isaiah says, “He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” [Isaiah 40:11.] The lambs need more than daily food. They need protection, and must constantly be guarded with tender care. If one goes astray, it must be searched for. The figure is a beautiful one, and well represents the loving service that the under-shepherd of the flock of Christ is to give to those under his protection and care. GW 211.3Read in context »
Every human being is the object of loving interest to Him who gave His life that He might bring men back to God. Souls guilty and helpless, liable to be destroyed by the arts and snares of Satan, are cared for as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his flock. MH 162.1
The Saviour's example is to be the standard of our service for the tempted and the erring. The same interest and tenderness and long-suffering that He has manifested toward us, we are to manifest toward others. “As I have loved you,” He says, “that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. If Christ dwells in us, we shall reveal His unselfish love toward all with whom we have to do. As we see men and women in need of sympathy and help, we shall not ask, “Are they worthy?” but “How can I benefit them?” MH 162.2
Rich and poor, high and low, free and bond, are God's heritage. He who gave His life to redeem man sees in every human being a value that exceeds finite computation. By the mystery and glory of the cross we are to discern His estimate of the value of the soul. When we do this, we shall feel that human beings, however degraded, have cost too much to be treated with coldness or contempt. We shall realize the importance of working for our fellow men, that they may be exalted to the throne of God. MH 162.3Read in context »
Christ says, “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.” Verses 11-14. PP 191.1
Christ, the Chief Shepherd, has entrusted the care of His flock to His ministers as undershepherds; and He bids them have the same interest that He has manifested, and feel the sacred responsibility of the charge He has entrusted to them. He has solemnly commanded them to be faithful, to feed the flock, to strengthen the weak, to revive the fainting, and to shield them from devouring wolves. PP 191.2
To save His sheep, Christ laid down His own life; and He points His shepherds to the love thus manifested, as their example. But “he that is an hireling, ... whose own the sheep are not,” has no real interest in the flock. He is laboring merely for gain, and he cares only for himself. He studies his own profit instead of the interest of his charge; and in time of peril or danger he will flee, and leave the flock. PP 191.3
The apostle Peter admonishes the undershepherds: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:2, 3. Paul says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Acts 20:28, 29. PP 191.4Read in context »
Compare the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep, with those who are filled with self-esteem, puffed up, dictatorial, loving to rule in the church. The prophets have specified Christ's attributes. They foretold Him as a gentle Shepherd, who would carry the lambs in His bosom. There are others pointed out by prophecy, who have accepted the position of leaders and religious instructors, whom the Word of God rebukes for their neglect, in their ignorance, to do the work which they should have been doing in their places of responsibility (Manuscript 176, 1898). 7BC 915.1
16 (Colossians 1:26, 27; Romans 16:25; see EGW on John 1:1-3, 14; 2 Timothy 3:16). Beyond the Ken of Man—Great is the mystery of godliness. There are mysteries in the life of Christ that are to be believed, even though they cannot be explained. The finite mind cannot fathom the mystery of godliness (Letter 65, 1905). 7BC 915.2
(1 Peter 1:11, 12.) The Incarnation a Painful Process—The work of redemption is called a mystery, and it is indeed the mystery by which everlasting righteousness is brought to all who believe. The race in consequence of sin was at enmity with God. Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey. But the same infinite sacrifice that is life to those who believe is a testimony of condemnation to the disobedient, speaking death and not life (Manuscript 29, 1899). 7BC 915.3Read in context »
This chapter is filled with instruction appropriate for us at this time. The word of the Lord to us is: “Repent ye; prepare the way for a revival of My work.” 8T 10.1
The removal to Washington of work hitherto carried on in Battle Creek is a step in the right direction. We are to continue to press into the regions beyond, where the people are in spiritual darkness. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” Verse 4. Every obstacle to the redemption of God's people is to be removed by the opening of His word and the presentation of a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” The true light is to shine forth; for darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. The truth of the living God is to appear in contrast with error. Proclaim the glad tidings. We have a Saviour who has given His life that those who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 8T 10.2
Obstacles to the advancement of the work of God will appear; but fear not. To the omnipotence of the King of Kings, our covenant-keeping God unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. Nothing can stand in His way. His power is absolute, and it is the pledge of the sure fulfillment of His promises to His people. He can remove all obstructions to the advancement of His work. He has means for the removal of every difficulty, that those who serve Him and respect the means He employs may be delivered. His goodness and love are infinite, and His covenant is unalterable. 8T 10.3
The plans of the enemies of His work may seem to be firm and well established, but He can overthrow the strongest of these plans, and in His own time and way He will do this, when He sees that our faith has been sufficiently tested and that we are drawing near to Him and making Him our counselor. 8T 10.4
In the darkest days, when appearances seem so forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He is working out His will, doing all things well in behalf of His people. The strength of those who love and serve Him will be renewed day by day. His understanding will be placed at their service, that they may not err in the carrying out of His purposes. 8T 10.5Read in context »
Study the forty-first chapter of Isaiah, and strive to understand it in all its significance. God declares: “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” Isaiah 41:18-20. 8T 39.1
He who has chosen Christ has joined himself to a power that no array of human wisdom or strength can overthrow. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee,” He declares; “be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Verses 10, 13. 8T 39.2
“To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:25-31. 8T 39.3Read in context »
Christ's words, so comforting and cheering to those that listened to them, are for us today. As a faithful shepherd knows and cares for his sheep, so Christ cares for His children. He knows the trials and difficulties surrounding each one. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd,” declares Isaiah: “he shall gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom.” Christ knows His sheep intimately, and the suffering and helpless are objects of His special care.... TMK 51.3Read in context »
A true shepherd knows and pities and helps the sheep that most need his help—those that are bruised and lame and feeble. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.” TMK 53.2
Far more intimately than the patriarch Jacob knew the weak, the suffering, and the lame among his sheep, does the Chief Shepherd know His flock. He knows what no one else knows. He has Himself weighed every burden. No one knows the weight like Himself, for He has borne all our griefs, and carried all our sorrows. It was this that made Him a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.... TMK 53.3
If there is not another soul in the universe that regards you, the Lord God of Israel is looking upon you with thoughts of compassion, tenderness, and sympathy. He sees you with your strong impulses when fainthearted and discouraged.... You have the deepest, the richest, the most refreshing sympathy in the bosom of the great Shepherd. We have not an high priest who cannot sympathize with us, but One who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.... TMK 53.4
Not only has every provision been made that when tried and tempted you should find help and strength and grace, but also that your influence upon other minds should be fragrant. Not only does Christ know every soul, and the temptations and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that irritate and chafe the spirit. Your great danger is in being self-sufficient. This will not do for a Christian. Christ will give you His patience if you ask for it.... TMK 53.5
God's abounding love and presence will give you the power of self-control. He will mold and fashion your mind and character. He will direct your aims and purposes and capabilities in a channel that will give you moral and spiritual power which you will not have to leave here in this world but can carry with you and retain through eternal ages.20 TMK 53.6Read in context »