Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4b
Psalm 23 is familiar to many of us. Each verse invites us to trust in God’s expert management and care of our lives as our good shepherd.
Today the verse about God’s rod and staff stands out to me. The shepherd’s rod is used to defend the sheep from predators. The staff is used to guide the sheep. Phillip Keller in his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, describes the special bond between a good shepherd and his sheep.
“Again and again I have seen a shepherd use his staff to guide his sheep gently into a new path or through some gate or along dangerous, difficult routes….The tip of the long slender stick is laid gently against the animal’s side, and the pressure applied guides the sheep in the way the owner wants it to go. Thus the sheep is reassured of its proper path. Sometimes I have been fascinated to see how a shepherd will actually hold his staff against the side of some sheep that is a special pet or favorite, simply so that they are ‘in touch.’ They will walk along this way almost as though it were ‘hand-in-hand.’” (From Chapter 8, p.121)
God guides and protects us. When the way seems uncertain and our fears grow, God is still there. He knows us and what we are facing. He knows the way that we should go. We can trust in him.
God, you shepherd me with great love and care. Help me to trust you with whatever I’m facing. Guide me where you want me to go. Amen.