Ps 23:4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.
God’s “rod and staff” are extremely important to our spiritual growth in today’s volatile climate. Not only spiritual but also political, social and economic issues we deal with on a daily basis can be difficult to filter through to see the truth of what God is doing in this world. We need discipline and guidance, without it we get lost. Discipline is one of the most important traits a person can learn and without guidance, we get lost.
The Hebrew word “shebet” translates to both rod and staff. It can also mean “club.” The top end of the Shepherd’s staff usually has a “crook” or hook on it to help the shepherd catch, control and guide his sheep. In biblical times, a staff was a first choice for traveling for its usefulness as a walking stick and a weapon. The staff was also symbolic of God’s authority. Our Great Shepherd Jesus leads us in the way we should go and the decisions we make. That is to lead us with love, not hit us over the head even though sometimes it feels like it.
The rod was also used as a symbol of correction and discipline metaphorically speaking. This is an expression of love. Love disciplines. The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. If God did not love us and want the best for us, he would let us wander off a cliff. His rod is needed to protect us from enemies and his staff is to keep us close to him.
We need to use the metaphorical rod and staff on ourselves and those we love on a regular basis. Without self-discipline, our lives would be a shamble. Without rules and laws our world will be chaos.