The Rod & The Staff
Ps.23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” [NKJV, with emphasis].
Today, we return to our study in Psalm 23. What made David so strong? We started to answer this question a few days ago; the first thing we pointed out was God’s presence. The presence of God is key to security. Sometimes, it takes storms in our lives to drive us closer to God. God, unlike our natural parents, does not diminish in power and He never fails. God is always more than enough. David goes on to say that the second thing that makes him so confident, the second reason he does not fear evil is, the rod and the staff of his shepherd. Every shepherd carries a rod and a staff. The rod is used to fight off any animal that attacks the sheep.
The rod is a club-like weapon the shepherd uses to ward off or kill predators. This is what David was referring to when he said to Saul, “The lion and the bear came, I clubbed them to death” [paraphrased from 1 Sam.17]. Every shepherd has a rod. The staff is used to rescue the sheep from trouble. David says, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”. I used to think the phrase “comfort me” meant pat on the back. But it actually means to give an assurance and because of that assurance David can relax. When the sheep sees the shepherd’s rod and staff, it is confident.
The rod is a weapon of power. Even in the darkest valley, when the sheep knows the shepherd has his rod in his hands, the sheep feels no fear regardless of the foxes, or the hyenas, and even the bears. Ps.62:11 “God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you.” For the wolf to kill the sheep, it must first go through the rod of a shepherd and overpower it. But the sheep is more familiar with that rod breaking the heads of hyenas and wolfs. Not only must the wolf overpower the rod, the wolf must overpower the shepherd himself because a good shepherd is willing to lay down his life for the sheep. The shepherd goes after the animal with the rod and with his life. That gives the sheep total confidence, and this is what Jesus did for us. Jesus laid His life down for us as a Good Shepherd.
When God is your shepherd, you can be confident that no evil will prevail over you. Isa.54:15 (KJV) “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” Sheep trust the power and the loyalty of their shepherd. The sheep knows that the shepherd loves it so much that if push comes to shove, the shepherd will die for it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for always putting Your life on the line for me. You, Lord, are my Rock, my place of safety, my refuge and I trust You completely, in Jesus Name. Amen!