“Your and rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Christian, what is it that brings you comfort? What is it that brings you peace? When you lie awake with worry what thought allows you sweet sleep? When your days are filled with anxious toil where do you go for rest? Where do you run for comfort?
For the Psalmist, it was always the rod and staff of King Jesus.
Do not belittle these items as if they were trinkets to adorn a shepherd’s wall. Both instruments carried weight. The rod acted as a club – it was the weapon of choice to beat away the wolves, bears, or other predators. It was a fierce weapon and a strong ally for the sheep. It was fierce and unforgiving.
The staff acted as the gentle reminder. It supported the shepherd’s frame, yes, but it was also the perpetual fence for the sheep. The shepherd could extend the staff to hem in his wondering sheep without the brutality of the club. The staff guided the lost ones. The staff hemmed in the ones prone to wonder.
Can you now see the comfort these brought to the Psalmist? Do you understand the sweet relief these items brought his wearied mind? David was without a staff and club himself but did not toil with anxious thought. He did not submit to constant panic. He wrestled through them with one staying thought: the Lord has both a rod and a staff – and He will use them for my good.
Take comfort in this precious sheep. You are under the Shepherd’s care and His rod and staff are strong, sure, and steady.