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Cornerstone Baptist Church
JESUS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD

the rod and thy staff they comfort me 23rd Psalm

It was the rod of God's word that Christ used against Satan during His desert temptation. It is the same word of God which we can count on again and again for our encounters with Satan. There is no substitute for the scripture in coping with the complexities in our society; no substitute for our safety and our comfort.

In order to fully understand this verse in Psalm 23, we must understand the life of a Shepherd and his tools for caring for his flock. A good Shepherd loves his sheep and did everything possible to secure their safety from all peril. He cared for their wounds, kept them in good health; He knew where to find the greenest grass and the freshest water. The shepherd provided comfort and care for them so that each individual sheep had no want. They were able to lie down in green pastures and had no fear of evil for their shepherd was prepared with his rod and staff in hand. Knowing he was watching over them night and day brought them comfort.

How does your "Good Shepherd" bring you comfort? Your Good Shepherd cares for you in the very same way! He watches you both night and day. His rod and His staff are in His skillful, righteous right hand. He cares for you and He will comfort you..

Good Shepherds went to great lengths to create a rod that was perfectly suited for his size and strength in order to have the right tool for the job. He would go to the woods and select a sapling, digging it up and carving and whittling it down with great care and patience. There was an enlarged part, where the sapling joined the roots to the trunk; this was shaped into a smoothed rounded head that fit his hand exactly. The rod was an extension of the shepherd's arm. This becomes the main tool of defense, discipline and correction for the flock's welfare: a symbol of his strength, his power, his authority. He relied on this to safeguard himself and his flock from danger. It was an instrument of safeguard, defense and correction to control his flock in every situation. The shepherd with his rod in hand demonstrated his authority and power. The shepherd's staff is for guidance and gentle direction (not discipline) representing compassionate care.

The rod of our "Good Shepherd," Jesus Christ, serves the very same purpose to demonstrate the power given to Him by God. The rod and the staff also manifested miracles through God the Father which you can read about in the Holy Scriptures.

The rod speaks of the spoken word and the intent of God's mind and will in dealing with His children. God's divine authority, power and irrefutable impact of the scripture is clear as it is stated, "Thus saith the Lord." In David's day there was comfort and consolation for the sheep in seeing the rod in the skillful Shepherd's hand. It is still the same today. Isn't it a comfort to know your Shepherd has His rod in hand and will skillfully use it for your defense and safety? He will protect any one of His flock at any indication of danger. Just as the sheep alert their shepherd when in danger, you may call out for your Shepherd.

The rod is a comfort because if you belong to Jesus, you can be secure in the knowledge that He is prepared, ready to care and protect you. Jesus Christ, will keep you from confusion and chaos. You can lie down in green pastures beside still waters and know that your soul will be restored. You will have no want and you don't have to fear evil for He is right there by your side. "thy rod and thy staff will comfort you..."

Scripture serves as His Rod and His Staff because God's inspired word gives guidance, direction and teaches discipline. The Holy Spirit (His staff) is available and lives within you. He can rescue you just as the Shepherd recues his fallen sheep in the fields. You can have comfort because His rod and staff gives a great sense of quiet serenity for you know you're under the "Great Shepherd's" care and protection as one of His beloved flock.

by Jane Barrick