Recently I have been taking you on a mini-study of Psalm 23. So far, we have done a verse-by-verse break down of the following:
‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…’
If you have missed any of the studies, please feel free to go back and read them!
Today we will be focusing on the second half of verse 4,
‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me’.
The rod and the staff were tools of a shepherd.
The rod was a tool for protection, to defend the sheep from potential predators.
The staff was a tool for correction, gently pulling any straying sheep back into line and into the right direction.
When we submit to the leading of the shepherd, we come under his rod and staff, which offer us protection from predators, and correction.
We should welcome the correction of God into our lives. His staff is what keeps us from wandering off into danger zones, and his rod protects us from predators. They lead us to the green pastures that we want.
So why does David talk about the correction of the shepherd here, in the valley? Well, perhaps it is because it is the in the dark times that we can be most open to compromising – it is when we start questioning our shepherd.
When you are a child, your parents correct you when you misbehave, or ‘behave out of line’. Parents do this because the child’s misbehaviour is not in line with the values of the parents or what the family represents. It is loving, protecting, and a source of security for the child to be disciplined.
For example, ‘We the Smith family do not throw tantrums at the table, so we are correcting you so you come into line with what we as a family are about!’
Likewise, when we step out of line as children of God, there is security in knowing that God, by His Holy Spirit, pulls us back saying, ‘hey, as children of God, we do not behave like that. I love you enough to correct you. My correction will get you to where you want to go.’
In the valleys of life, welcome the boundaries and corrective rod of God. They will protect you. When you feel the Holy Spirit say, ‘hmmm that’s not what my son/daughter does’, take that as a reminder of who you really are.
There is protection in the correction!
As David said, His correction actually COMFORTS you. It gives you security because you know He cares enough about you to correct you.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.