Day 7 – Protection and Direction
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Ps 23:4
Here we see God’s continuing provision for us. The rod and the staff are metaphors for His protection and direction.
The rod was a club used by shepherds to ward off wild dogs, jackals and other beasts that would threaten the flock. He would keep it close by, often hung on his belt, so he would be ready to defend and protect his sheep at any time. This is how God watches over us. He does much to keep enemies away from us, and if we do get in a bad situation, He is always there to help us out. Ps 46:1 reiterates this thought: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And even in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus reminds us of God’s desire to “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt 6:13).
The staff, which most likely had a large hook on the end, was also used to get the sheep out of difficulties. The hook could go around the sheep’s leg to pull them out of thick bushes, etc. And the staff was also used to direct the sheep: the shepherd would nudge the sheep to go in a particular direction. The intended result is that the sheep would go to the place where the shepherd could care for them the best, whether green pastures, still waters, or back into the fold.
We should find great comfort in God’s protection and direction. But of course, this gets back to our allowing Him to lead us (see lesson 5). God doesn’t have a physical staff to move us; rather He uses His Word, His Spirit, and the counsel of godly people to direct us. The more we learn to allow God to direct us, the greater we can live in peace and security – in comfort.
What was a time where God protected you?
What is something you could do now to allow God to direct you?