Posts Tagged Isaiah 40: 11

Carried by Love

Psalm 68 : 5 – 6          Passion Translation

To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he gives a family. To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. This is our Holy God in his Holy Place! But for the rebels there is heartache and despair.

We saw yesterday that God is the perfect parent. Notice that the first three sentences have to do with family relationships. I think that is significant. Families provide individuals with much, so God stands ready to repair and restore family relationships and to be the person each of us needs whether a parent, brother, sister or spouse.

One version says that He is the defender of widows. Women didn’t have any standing of their own. They were either under the protection of their father or their husband. When a husband died, the powerless widow could easily become destitute and a target for those who prey on the weak. In fact, many had to turn to prostitution as the only means for generating income. It was rough, but God saw their plight those many years ago and He sees the challenges today. He is the champion of the widow, her defender, so if a person takes on the widow, he is taking on God. God stands in the shoes of the widow to protect her and her children.

Also, there are no lonely in Christ. He has ways to provide a family, beginning with Himself. He knows that humans need social contact and He does not want any of us to feel lonely.

The most interesting part, though, is His response to prisoners. What kind of prisoners do you think God has in mind here. I don’t think this is the conventional use of the word. The King James refers to the prisoners as those bound in chains. Looking in the Strong’s Concordance causes one to come away with the notion that these are people who are bound or who are being held against their will. God’s grace and compassion absolutely extends to people who are incarcerated as a result of their actions, but this verse seems to convey an image of those being held against their will or restrained. In that regard one might think in broader terms as in any person who is bound by anything or anyone. It might refer to someone who is imprisoned in an unhealthy relationship, maybe by marriage or maybe familial. Others are held captive by their past. Really, there are many ways we are shackled but the key is that God is here to set you free. But that is not all. He wants to shower you with prosperity until you sing for joy. That is so over the top and when God talks about prosperity He means everything in life is flowing with goodness and abundance. Sure, it means money, but it includes everything else too. God has an interesting reaction to setting the captives free. It is not enough for Him just to purchase their freedom. He wants to make up for everything that has been stolen from them as well. That is a good Father.

I am reminded of the words from Isaiah 40: 11, “In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom.” That is the picture of our loving Father. He wants to gather you up in His arms and carry you next to His chest where no harm can befall you. No matter how you have been hurt in the past, God is here, now, to restore and heal you.

Tender Care

Isaiah 40: 11

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

This is a beautiful passage. I am sure you agree, but can we receive the depth of it and the tenderness of it? The NIV version is, perhaps, even more tender. The latter part says he, “carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

This verse isn’t actually speaking of sheep, is it? It is an analogy. God cares for us the way a shepherd cares for the sheep. God gathers his children to his bosom and carries them (us) close to His heart. In this we see the nurturing aspect of God. It seems especially evident in the last phrase, “He gently leads those that have young.” Look at how lovingly He cares for mothers. We see the same kind of nurturing care that we associate with mothers, in the person of God the Father. That is as it should be and we need to see Yahweh in this light.

In the world, we allocate certain characteristics and behaviors to one of the genders. Then, because we call “God” Father, we subtract from His nature those things we associate with women. As we come to know Yahweh in truth, we find that we have made “Him” in our image. God is neither male nor female. In heaven there is neither female nor male (Galatians 3: 28). What this means for us is that whatever we need, it is in God. If you need a mother “He” is that. All kindness, gentleness, love and nurture come out of Yahweh. Our language requires a pronoun and those are divided by gender, but God cannot be divided by mere language. He is all in all. He is everything we need. He is tender and caring but He is also a strong fortress. Don’t let culture or language steal any part of Yahweh from you.