Approaching the Throne of God: Psalm 23- Your Rod and Staff, They Comfort Me
I hate disciplining my kids. I hate it. Yet, if I want them to grow to be godly young men, I need to make sure that I am both guiding, and, yes, disciplining them, all in the hopes that I can teach them, as God and my parents have taught me, to walk in the ways of the Lord. Yet discipline has become an ugly word, hasn’t it? We live in an age where people yell at teachers, coaches, bosses, preachers, and everyone else BUT their kid, and defend terrible behavior of their own children! And, these same children tend to grow up despising their parents, revolting against and rejecting everything their parents stand for, typically boiling down to lack of discipline, giving children what they want, and treating them as if they could do no wrong. I’m not saying this is 100 percent true, but I’ve observed this over and again. When there is no consequence, there is no fear of wrong doing.
This is why David wrote “your rod and staff, they comfort me.” The staff was for guiding and correcting; its crook was used to literally force a sheep to go a certain direction. The rod was used to discipline sheep, to correct behavior. If the rod was not used, it usually allowed for sheep to become hot headed and willful, and, in turn, they’d lead other sheep in to wrong doing. David is literally telling God “Your guidance and discipline I crave, they give me security and comfort.” Discipline is never fun, not for the one doing it, and not for the recipient. But it’s necessary for healthy growth and development. As my kids grow, I need to discipline them less and less, but I notice they stick closer to my side. It’s a comfort to know that discipline, done with love, is leading and guiding us. And God always uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:18-30 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.