Marked and Corrected
Psalm 23:4 “for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”
The 'rod and the staff' are essential to the office of the shepherd for guidance and protection of the flock. Today, we will look at the main functions of the rod and staff and how we can see that God’s use of them reeks of love on all levels for His children. First of all, the rod and the staff is used to mark the sheep, to distinguish them from other sheep and recognized as his own. Leviticus 20:26 tells us , “You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own”. There are numerous benefits to this marking, being identified as God’s own. Unfortunately, we often get tricked into thinking or seeing this separation as a disadvantage rather than the privilege that it is. When we should be letting our light shine in the darkness of this world, we put a basket over it in order to blend in. This is a huge problem when we cannot bring God glory when our marking is not visible.
Another benefit is the power we have as we fight the good fight of faith. When we think of God marking us as His own, there is a certain level of confidence and pride to being a part of this royal priesthood. When this confidence is in place, we can fight the devil differently because we know that the victor is with us.
The most important function of the rod and staff is as a disciplinary agent. When sheep become defiant and stray repeatedly, the shepherd uses the rod to break the leg of the sheep. In Hebrews 12:6 we see that God chastens those He loves and just like those dumb sheep that often stray, we tend to stray away from God at times. As much as we want to please God, we all fall short or His glory. Gratefully, His rod and staff will poke our attention when we’ve decided to commit a sin. When this happens, we turn to God with a repentant heart never to return to that thing again. David welcomed the discipline of the Lord and never wanted to be far from Him. Psalm 139:23-24 presents some blessed words that we should all say to God often,
“Search me oh Lord and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me in the way of everlasting”.
When we can position our heart to pray that way, we show the Lord that we are receptive to His correction.
Every believer has prayed for the hand of God to remain upon his life. Having the rod and staff in full operation is equally important. It is unfathomable what state we would be in if we weren’t marked and corrected for His glory.
Prayer: Father, I appreciate being marked as yours, separated for your glory, and disciplined when I fall short. It is comforting to know that you are always working on getting my character to line up with the new creature you saw since day one. Thank you for always being the awesome God that you are. Amen!