“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23.4)
Sheep are funny creatures. They like their freedom. Left to themselves they will wander away after a patch of grass that looks appetizing, unaware of the danger. As he chews his delicious indulgence, suddenly the rod of the shepherd comes whirling through the air and strikes him. Why would the shepherd do such a thing? Better the shepherd’s rod than the lion’s teeth!
When our children were young there were times when the sinful nature manifested in all its glory. Their attitude was selfish and defiant. I would tolerate so much and then deliver the rod, which in our case was a 5-gallon paint stir-stick applied to the place God supplied for this purpose. I did not do this because I hated my children but because I loved them and wanted to bring them up in the right way.
I don’t think that sheep or children ever feel that the rod brings comfort…at least not at first. The Bible tells us that no discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12.11).
As David looked over his life, he could see the times the LORD had brought out the rod. These were times of breaking or chastening that ultimately led to comfort. They were intended to correct rather than condemn.
Has the LORD brought out His rod lately? Jesus said, “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline” (Rev. 3.19). Do not fear, but wait for the comfort that He will bring. The best is yet to come!
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