I wanted to share a Word with you in hopes to bring you some COMFORT during this time of separation. First, I want you to know that You have been lifted up in prayer every day and believe that God has placed divine protection over your family during this time. I want to encourage each one of you to take advantage of this opportunity to seek God without anything else bidding for your time and attention. I believe this is a time of divine separation and the Lord has a special touch for each one of your lives.

I studied a short devotional on Feeling Anxious a couple days ago and it referenced Psalm 23. I’ve read this passage so much and have heard it referenced so much that I have it memorized as I’m sure you do as well. One thing that really stood out to me this time was the reference to the Shepherd’s rod and staff. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”. I was curious to know why this brought the psalmist comfort. I mean just the very presence of the Lord sure would suffice, but he specifically mentions His rod and staff. So, I began to wonder what was the purpose of a shepherd’s rod and staff.

To my surprise this is quite possibly talking about two separate items. The rod was used as a weapon to scare off thieves and predators, so it represented a tool of protection and provided safety for the flock. It also would provide stability, like a walking stick, when the way to better pastures was rocky or unstable ground. The staff was a tool used for gentle correction or re-directing, and the hook at the top of the staff was designed to grab the sheep by the head or neck when they would stray or attempt to wander off from the herd. Some staffs actually had a shovel like design at the bottom so the shepherd could scoop up mud or dirt and toss it at the sheep when they started to wonder off from the herd or go in the wrong direction.

Doesn’t it make sense now? Why the rod and staff brought comfort? We are often referred to as sheep in his pasture. As our Great Shepherd he is well equipped to protect, provide, guide, re-direct, correct and lead us when the enemy, sin or cares of this life causes us to stumble, stray, wander off or even end up “separated” from the herd. The way seems a bit rough right now. We are being led into uncharted territory, but staying close to our Great Shepherd will provide us COMFORT and lead us to green pastures and still waters in the days ahead and even today as you seek His face.

So much more could be said regarding His rod and staff. I feel a COMFORT in my spirit knowing that if I stay close to the Shepherd, He is going to see me through this strange time and place we are in at this moment. God Bless each one of you and I’m looking forward to assembling together again one day soon to WORSHIP our Great Shepherd.

by: Sis. Faith Barton

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