The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
…Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
To a shepherd, the rod and staff were very important tools when tending sheep. The rod was a long, straight stick. It was a part of the shepherd, an extension of his right arm. It was used to protect and guard the sheep against any predator that would try to attack. It was his main weapon of defense. It was also used to discipline the sheep.
The staff was a long stick as well, but it formed a hook on the end. The staff was there to guide and direct the sheep. The shepherd could use the hook end of the staff to pull the sheep closer to himself or closer to the rest of the group if it wondered too far or was shying away. The staff was also used to pull a sheep from danger. If it had fallen into water, between rocks or if it got too close to the edge of a cliff, the hook end could be wrapped around the sheep and the sheep could be pulled to safety. The staff could also push dangerous animals out of the way.
The rod and staff, these two tools had the power to destroy and protect, to push away and pull close. The shepherd, in all his wisdom, used these tools to protect and raise the sheep in his care. The shepherd built relationships between himself and the sheep. They knew him and they knew his voice.
The Lord is our shepherd. He uses His rod to protect and discipline us. He uses His staff to pull us closer to Himself and to His other children when we stray away. He uses these tools to keep us on the path that leads us to an eternity with Him. When we heed His voice we can be assured of our future in Him.
So embrace the comfort that comes with His rod and staff. His correcting hand proves that He loves us as a father loves his child. Proverbs 3:11-12, My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, for whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
The Lord is our shepherd, and we don’t have to want for anything. He WILL provide ALL we need. Psalm 23 tells us The Lord provides: rest, restoration, leadership, guidance, protection, sustenance, honor, blessings, anointing, goodness and mercy. All of which are overflowing and everlasting. All of which He extends to us because He loves us. And for that we should find comfort in His rod and staff.
What protection and guidance is His rod providing for you? How is His staff pulling you closer to Himself or pushing things out of your reach?