Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Do a rod and a staff sound comforting to you? These well-known Bible verses bring hope to many people, yet little is mentioned about the shepherd’s tools – the rod and the staff.
Sheep traveled into valleys for food and water, but the valley also contained danger. The high ridges created perfect places for lions and coyotes to wait to snatch an innocent lamb.
Anticipating new grass, sheep often wandered away where they slipped into swamps or fell down steep cliffs. Tiny flies bit their ears.
But the shepherd was prepared. He constantly watched over his flock for any signs of danger. With his tall staff with crooked end, he could snare a sheep from a swamp or guide him in fast-moving waters.
His rod, a short stick with leather strips on the end, kept the flies and mosquitoes away – and could be used in cleaning and grooming.
As stubborn, somewhat dumb creatures, we (like sheep) get into dangerous situations in the valleys of life. But the Lord stays with us, protecting us from the nuisances, cleaning us of our sins, and redeeming us when we fall.
From 365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
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