. . .your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. Psalm 23:4b
The 23rd Psalm. Like the Lord’s Prayer, it is so familiar, I think we often recite it and lose the essence of it’s deeper meaning. I recently revisited this psalm and began to think about the rod and the staff.
The shepherd had two tools to help him herd the sheep. Sheep are not the world’s most brilliant animals. They have a tendency to wander off into danger, need constant monitoring, and can’t often sense danger. They will either stay in one place and eat up all the resources until they are chewing on dirt, too timid to move on; or they can be enticed by a juicy clump within a few feet of a lurking predator. Sort of sounds like us humans, right? No wonder we need the Shepherd.
The rod tapped and pushed them along down the right path. The staff had a hook on it so the shepherd could yank the sheep back from danger. Neither sound very comfortable, yet David, as a shepherd by trade, understood the comfort in having God always there to steer him and pull him back from snares and evil. That is why he had no wants (vs1) and feared no evil (vs4). Total dependence and faith in the Master.
I’m thinking that the goodness and mercy(vs 6) that David says will follow him the rest of his days are the rod and the staff. Just a thought.
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