June 26 I Wednesday
“Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
With God as our Good Shepherd, we shall not fear death and neither shall we fear discipline. David expresses, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). The rod and the staff are basic tools of a shepherd; they are two things with which a shepherd provides protection on the one hand and correction on the other hand. With a rod, the shepherd would drive away marauding animals. And when a wandering sheep fell over a cliff, the shepherd would use his staff, which has a hook on the head of it, to reach down around the ankle of the sheep to pull it back safely.
When a sheep needed a poke, it would get it from either the staff or the rod. David says that this poking and prodding that comes from a shepherd’s rod and staff is a comfort to him. It is like the comfort we receive from loving parents who protect and correct us. Although correction is not always pleasant at the time, the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son’” (Hebrews 12:5-6). It is an encouragement for us not to fear the Lord’s discipline. Because He loves us and we need His protection and correction.
David also tells us that we have no fear in dissension, conflict or battle because: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” There are two things highlighted in this verse: a feast and a fight. We enjoy the feast, which is the provision that God makes available to us, and it is so full that our “cup overflows.” But there is still a fight as we are in conflict with principalities and powers that are outside of the physical world but operate within our physical world. We fight against the world, flesh and the devil, which is what Scripture tells us.
Yet, in the New Testament, when Jesus sent His disciples out on their own, He told them four times in Matthew 10: “Do not be afraid.” Jesus comforted His disciples that they need not fear death, discipline, dissension, battle or conflict but to simply let Him lead as a shepherd leads his flock. Like His disciples, we can find comfort and security when we trust and allow Him to lead us as our Good Shepherd.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for disciplining me, Your rod and Your staff do comfort me. I am thankful for Your provision for me and that I have no fear in the midst of the battle that is going on in this world because You are my Good Shepherd.