those of you who are a bit older or come from countries where violence has not been eliminated as early as in the US, those of you will remember having had friends or classmates who had been beaten by their parents with a rod or a belt occasionally – or some of you may even remember that being not so occasionally?
It was quite common where I come from and my parents even remember being beaten with the teacher’s rod on their hands or on their behind in school when they’ve done something wrong.
Nowadays, this is incredible and unbelievable!
These teachers would be in jail faster than they can say the alphabet – at least in most countries.
Even if you don’t remember being a witness (or a victim) of some of these beatings which used to be very common back in the days, you will have your own reaction to imagining a rod – or a staff?
I would assume that the first things which come to mind are not necessarily positive ideas?
Like my memories of beatings of children…
But when we take this into a more biblical context, what do a rod and a staff remind us of, what do they stand for?
To be honest with you, when I first heard this passage of Psalm 23 recited in a church, I was a bit surprised – why would a rod and a staff comfort anyone?
But today, I was thinking of this part of scripture and I did feel comforted and I was really happy and I wanted to share my joy with you all.
So why is it that HIS rod and HIS staff comfort me personally?
I have come to see that a rod is an instrument and a utensil of power and of authority.
In prison, where I work, the officers carry these little bats they use in an emergency to beat someone who would attack them.
Or the Police outside normally have them as well.
When I walk and work in prison every day, I normally don’t feel unsafe – even though there have been a few moments when I did a little – and then, it takes a while to get out of the area where the cells are, but what happens much quicker is that I can get next to an Officer and or see one close to where I am at and that makes me relax instantly.
Plus, we all have whistles and me, I never had to blow mine, but I have seen many times when a whistle went off close to where I was and what happens next is really amazing and I am touched and comforted at the same time every time I am there:
when an alarm is being raised by someone blowing a whistle, nobody knows where exactly it came from but the effect of this is always the same.
Many, many Prison Officers, usually ALL of those I can see who are on duty, are running in the direction where the sound of the whistle came from.
Sometimes, I even have to be careful to get out of the way quickly, because otherwise, they will be running “over me”.
Me, I LOVE that!
Not so much because it is normally something bad that happened so that someone felt they needed to raise the alarm in the first place – but it comforts me.
It comforts me so much, because I know, I just KNOW and I know that I can trust that if I ever have to blow my whistle, they will come running very fast to where I am at, to where I have this problem which made me raise the alarm.
And they will be many.
And they will have bats and they all have been trained in how to fight and in how to constrain a person.
That comforts me.
The bat itself doesn’t.
I know that it is a weapon and me, I don’t like weapons.
In fact, I would love to live in a world where we don’t need them.
And I mean that in a worldly and in a spiritual sense.
Unfortunately, we don’t.
We can argue all night long about who needs a weapon in the world, if it is only the armed forces, Police and servants of authorities or if everybody should be allowed to have a weapon – like in the US.
But that’s not the point here.
At least not with what I am trying to say.
Sometimes, in the world where we live today and also in the spirit realm for sure, weapons are needed!
Even if I don’t like that. Even if you don’t like it as well, my friend.
GOD clearly shows us in HIS word from the very beginning with Cain and Able that he did NOT create a world and humanity without violence. There are countless accounts of wars and battles in the bible, not just spiritual ones, but fleshly ones as well. And HE also warned us of what is coming and that doesn’t look very non-violent and politically correct either!
So I am glad, dear friends.
Because just like in the prison where I work, with MY GOD, the very same is true and the very same alarm system is activated – whereas unbelievers can blow their whistle until they are blue in the face and nobody will come … at least nobody who can truly help them.
When I have a problem, when I need to raise an alarm, MY GOD, MY FATHER,
HE will come running!
And HE will bring not only HIS rod and HIS staff, but countless other weapons, visible ones and invisible ones, HE will bring, use and exercise HIS power, HIS authority and HE will defend me, protect me, rescue me and save me!
How do I know?
Because I have seen it with my own eyes, I am a walking, talking witness of this, of the very fact that GOD will send his army out whenever we shout for help.
Me, I wouldn’t be alive and able to type this today if that wasn’t a true FACT!
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
And the other aspect this makes me think of every time I hear it, is the story about Aaron and Moses when they went to Pharao and threw down the staff before him and it became a snake – and the magicians and sorcerers Pharao had with him did the same – and theirs became snakes as well… but then, Aaron’s snake swallowed all the other snakes.
8 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
This is the staff WE are being lead by.
OUR shepherd’s staff.
I can only say “comfort”, but this is so much more to me, tells me so much more, makes me feel so much more than comforted.
It makes me feel safe.
It makes me feel loved.
It makes me feel happy that I made the right decision.
It makes me feel privileged and honored that GOD came looking for me, this GOD, the strongest GOD of all – for me…
It makes me feel grateful...
How about you, my friend?
Do his rod and his staff comfort you?
In these ways or in different ways?
I would love to hear your take on this.
I hope and pray that this will inspire, heal and bless you. And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all ares of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.