“BEHOLD, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shell 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.”
In the first verse of this wonderful chapter the Lord commands his servants to comfort his people by declaring certain things unto them. The cry of the afflicted, the poor and the needy had always been, God deliver us; in mercy remember thy people, and here is comfort for them. It has seemed to us that beginning with the fortieth chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah we have gospel messages, gospel promises, and the work of redemption presented, and the church brought to view as complete in her living Head, although now and then there are shadows. Jerusalem in the first verse of the fortieth chapter is called upon to rejoice in her Lord because of his great work in fighting her battle against death and delivering her from its power. The weakness, the vanity of man is presented by comparing him in all his glory with the flower of the grass. To those born again this gives increased hope in the Lord, because all know with Paul that ho good thing dwells in the flesh, and with Solomon they agree that all is vanity. But while these things are true of the flesh, Jerusalem is given the blessed assurance that the Word of the Lord endureth forever, and by the gospel this Word is preached unto them. Hence our text is a testimony of the Word, the Lamb of God. The record is, “The Lord God will come with strong hand.” This gives glory to Christ, who is equal with the Father. “I and my Father are one.” The Godhead dwells bodily in him. His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. It was therefore the Lord God who came with strong hand, traveling in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save. Of the people there was none” with him, no eye to pity, no hand to help, so his own arm brought salvation to the ends of the earth. Yes, his arm ruled for him, and shall rule until time shall he no more. Men are sometimes called “rulers,” but their rule is limited to certain dominions; they are finite, and often make mistakes in judgment, through which destruction is brought upon those over whom they rule, But “the Lord God” rules in heaven above and in the earth beneath; heaven is his throne and the earth his footstool. His dominion embraces all worlds and all beings. Kings and monarchs are subject to him. Not only so, but the small est insect, that has to be seen through a magnifying glass, and dies in a few hours of old age, is also ruled by Him. Yes, the very heirs of your head are all numbered, and not one shall fall without. His purpose.
When he came his reward was with him, yes, in the very work he did. How often he said to the disciples, My meat and my drink is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Again, I delight to do thy will, O God. In this he was the example of all the children of God. They never think of God rewarding them hereafter for their good works here. If they minister to the body of Christ (one another) the reward is in the very act of kindness, let it be what it may. In all the obedience rendered to the blessed commandments of God is the answer of a good conscience toward him, therefore our reward is with us and in the work, instead of for it, otherwise it would be reckoned of debt. When man is given to rightly behold himself he will then understand how impossible it is to bring the God of mercy and grace into his debt; will more fully grasp the import of Jesus’ words: Ten thousand talents in debt, and not one farthing to pay.
The work of Jesus was before him in the sense that the eternal purpose of God was accomplished in his death and resurrection. All other works performed by him were minor compared with that of redemption and justification, and this was the work, or will, of the Father which he delighted in. In this he abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. Having done this merciful and gracious work for his chosen, it is now his work to feed his flock like a shepherd. “One Hook and one Shepherd.” The flock belongs to Christ, and he is their Shepherd. To him they look for food pure, nourishing food. Some need milk, others need strong meat. Sometimes in meditating upon this subject the sheep and lambs lose sight entirely of the ministers of the great Shepherd, and rejoice in Paul’s statement: Having Him We have all things, and with the poet they sing:
“I say he’s my meat and my drink,
My life, my strength and my store,
My shepherd, my husband, my friend,
My Savior from sin and from thrall,
My hope from beginning to end,
My portion, my Lord and my all.”
He never has delegated man to gather his lambs, but does that work with his own arm (power), saying to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Once gathered they enter the fold forever, with believers enrolled, with believers to live and to die. In times of weakness, danger and fear he carries them in his bosom; yes, tenderly, lovingly and safely he carries them to the haven of rest. He gently leads those that are with young. This means those not yet made manifest. These are sheep with life within, and not one of them is forgotten of him. He led in this way Saul of Tarsus, watching over him, bringing him to the place where the life should be made manifest, and when he called him he told him, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” showing that God had been dealing with him before the day of his conversion”. Having such a Shepherd, all our enemies shall be destroyed, and having such a great Physician, all our diseases shall be healed, and having such a Savior, all the sheep shall be safely gathered into the upper and better kingdom, and shall go no more out forever. K.
Elder H. C. Ker
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 21
November 1, 1914