Dear Church Family:
God’s Comfort and Protection
Recently I’ve been meditating on Psalm 23 with a focus on verse 4 – “Even 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.” (ESV) We are in a season when evil is continuing to increase, yet for those in relationship with the LORD of lords we only pass through a shadow.
Shadows can be scary. Many a child has run to mom and dad during the night when a scary shadow formed on a wall in their bedroom. There is a type of scary darkness over the land now. The LORD promises that he is with us and that his rod and staff comfort us.
The rod is often thought of as a stick in the shepherd’s hand used to both protect the flock and to correct unruly individuals within the flock, as well as to guide them. This image carries into Messianic authority very well. Jesus’s rod may be used to discipline us and protect us from “wolves.”
The staff literally refers to a walking stick one may lean on. Hence, it is often seen as support or figuratively as sustenance.
Hope for Israel, an online website, says the comfort of the rod and staff “makes a connection between discipline and grace.”
I pray you may find this encouraging about the reality of our Shepherd’s presence with us during these difficult and darkening times. FEAR NOT!