READ : Psalm 23
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4c NKJV)
Comfort is not the first word we think of when reading of rods and staffs! Yet David knew these simple, multipurpose implements describe well the Lord’s care.
Shepherds used their rods and staffs to protect their sheep. Armed with them they could scare off predators and bludgeon them if they got near the sheep. Did not Jesus, centuries later, hint as much? No one would snatch his sheep from his hand (John 10:28).
Shepherds also used their rods and staffs to correct the sheep. The hand of the Lord that protects us is the same hand that chastens us. Discipline is also a form of protection. It guards us from ourselves.
Then again, shepherds used the crook of the staff to rescue sheep in distress. With it they could pull a wayward sheep out of a bog or off a ledge. They could even use their crooks to lift the sheep’s coat to check the skin for wounds or sores.
It’s interesting that David sang as much of the Lord’s correction and discipline as of his protection. He knew he needed both the unpleasant and the pleasant care of the Lord in his life. The Good Shepherd gives both.
Lord, comfort me with your rod and staff, for your glory’s sake and the joy of my soul. Amen.