LIVING THE TRUTH OF PSALM 23 – part 4

As we read reflectively through Psalm 23, a few verses at a time, I pray that our God will lead each of us to know what living the truth of His Word means for each of our days. Whether it is a day of sadness, surprises or celebration.

…Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

The LORD‘s rod and staff are means of bringing comfort to us? How can that be? My personal idea of comfort is taking a long walk by the ocean or taking some quiet time, drinking strong coffee and eating natural peanut butter mixed with dark chocolate chips. But! The LORD‘s rod and staff? These are not the first things I think of when I need comfort. Yet, here it is for each of us to understand and believe. Our Shepherd’s rod and staff are signs and instruments of His authority and leadership over His sheep, and their purpose is to bring us comfort.

Our Shepherd uses His rod and staff in gentle ways to show His authority and leadership over our lives – and always, and only, out of His deep love for us:

  • To show us the way to go. His rod, an extension of His mighty arm, points out the path we are to follow as our Shepherd walks with us, staff in hand.
  • To count us. Our Shepherd uses His rod to be sure that not one of us is missing or lost.
  • To guide us to walk closely with Him and closer to each other – with a gentle tap from His rod or a gentle pull from the hook of His staff.
  • To rescue us from a fall we inadvertently took. The hook of His staff pulls us back to safety.

Our Shepherd uses His rod and staff, in strong ways, to show His authority and leadership over our lives – and always, and only, out of His deep love for us:

  • To discipline us. A whack from His rod or a tug from His staff brings our focus back to Him.
  • To show us that we are in imminent and serious danger. His rod and staff may be used roughly to turn us around immediately and move us out of harm’s way.
  • To stop our continual wandering away. Our Shepherd may use His rod and staff to break our leg. Our Shepherd would, then, pick us up, carry us on His shoulders, keeping us close to His heart as we heal, strengthen and learn to stay close to the One who loves us most.
  • To fight off our enemies. Our Shepherd uses His rod and staff as weapons to fiercely fight for us, passionately defend us and completely defeat all who would harm and destroy us.

Read, again, today’s verse:

…Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

There is peace, provision and passionate protection and correction as we walk with our LORD and Shepherd. Out of His great love for us, our Shepherd will, gently and strongly, use His rod and staff to keep us very close to Himself. This is the very best place we could ever be. Here we are held tightly by His love, led fully by His authority – guided and grown by His rod and His staff – and given the greatest comfort we could ever know!