Posted by: Jo | November 16, 2012

The Tender Heart Of The Father

“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 who have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

imageOne of the most sensitive images we have of the Father is found in this beautiful verse from Isaiah (Isaiah 40:11). In his book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, Phillip Keller expounds on the qualities of a good shepherd and how our Heavenly Father deliberately allies himself with the caring role of a shepherd to give us a glimpse of his deep love for us. This Heavenly Shepherd is filled with tenderness and caring for the weak and helpless. Jesus himself equates himself with this verse when he exclaims, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10: 11)

The other deeply comforting phrase in this verse is; “…carries them close to his heart.” (Isaiah 40:11)

The mental picture is one of complete harmony between the carrier and the one being carried. We have a new baby in the family and the surest way of calming him is carrying him firmly against our bodies, so firmly that he feels our hearts beating and this reassuring rhythm slowly allows him to relax. The Father is asking us to stay close to his heart so our hearts are in tune with his. image

I have a great sense that tenderness towards others is fast disappearing from our society. Do we get exasperated with the handicapped person holding us up at the Supermarket? How much tenderness is shown to our elderly? Are we tender in our dealings with our own family? Perhaps society sees tenderness as a form of weakness. The apostle, Paul urges his readers to be tender hearted,

“And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgive one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 (KJV))

The loving heart of the Father gives us a great example of those who need tender care and how he extends it to them;

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3)

Perhaps some of us feel like bruised reeds at the moment, imageperhaps being battered by extenuating circumstances or harsh words that have wounded us. We may feel so down trodden by worries that we have reached breaking point. That is when we can take great heart in these words of the Lord. He will not let us be broken. He will swoop us up into his arms and carry us until we can cope again. Or perhaps we feel drained by life so there is no energy left; we feel we cannot go on any longer; we can only see things in a dim light. That is when our tender hearted Shepherd takes us into his care and gently leads us into his light.

This last Sunday we sang a beautiful hymn that spoke to all of us bruised reeds and smouldering wicks and reminded us of those comforting arms, ready and waiting for us. The chorus says it all.

Power Of Your Love

Hold me close

Let your love surround me

Bring me near

Draw me to your side

And as I wait

I’ll rise up like an eagle

And I will soar like you

Your Spirit leads me on

In the power of your love.


  1. I really enjoyed this one Mum. When Declan is all grown up I will remind him that his favourite place to be held until he fell asleep was on his Nana. Love Sam


  2. Oh so beautiful Jo!
    Tenderness is not a word you hear very much any more.Such a shame !
    It touches my heart just to think about what a wonderful word it is and the beautiful picture of love itbrings to mind. The hymn is one of my favorites and one that never fails to make the tears flow xoxo Jennifer


  3. Thanks Jo – very good Scripture choices and thoughts on them. I agree that tenderness is becoming scarce and I agree that Jesus will always have tenderness in His heart, for His people.


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