“…your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” - Psalm 23:4b
Listen to The Hot Rod of God
In first grade Mrs. Swartz spanked me for drawing on the floor during nap time. I don’t recall if the principal paddled me, too. He probably did. I was a habitual offender when it came to school rules. So you can understand why, as I child, I wasn’t “comforted” by God’s hot rod.
Step out of line, whack. Break a commandment, smack. Chew gum, choke. In my mind, God taught first grade and wore glasses, a frown and hair spray that smelled like paint remover.
Then a friend introduced me to God’s Good News and I began to see that God spent more time saving, restoring and comforting his children than He did correcting them. The wrath of God was real, but so too, was His love.
When His children reached a “dead end” on the shores of the Red Sea, Moses lifted God’s rod and the waters separated. When His people faced the Amalekites, Moses raised God’s rod and Israel defeated their enemies. Later, as they wandered the desert in search of water, shade, and a decent Chinese restaurant, Moses used God’s rod to strike a rock. Water gushed out creating the first desert fountain around which God’s people built the Bellagio resort.
So yes, God’s rod corrects us, but it also provides deliverance, strength and provision.
What dead end confronts you today? What enemy threatens to overwhelm you? What need leaves your soul parched? Ask the Good Shepherd to lift His rod on your behalf, pull you close with His staff and cradle you in His arms.
We serve a powerful God. Let us call on Him to fight for us.
“…your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4b
Listen to Coincidence or Not?
The busses pulled into the gravel parking lot, crunching over the grape-sized rock. A smile crossed my lips as the laughter and songs of 75 girl scouts rang across the pass.
With STAFF written across my shirt, the clipboard and whistle weighed heavy with the responsibility that lay ahead. I glanced across the dock at the canoes, paddles and life jackets. A quiet voice whispered, “Be afraid.”
I loved outfitting, but each new pack of novice kids was frightening.
The girls marched down the sloped bank to the dock as Dale, Rod, Randy and Lindsay each counted out a small group. Ironic that we had an outfitter named Rod and when he wore his Staff shirt, we just called him David.
“Shucks. Odd number.” I said.
“I know. Makes it hard?” Rod dropped his arm around my neck. Looks like it’s you and me to make the group.”
A dark-haired girl sat with her arms wrapped tightly around her knees. Rod coaxed her friends toward the life jackets while I sat next to her.
“Me, too.” I leaned onto my elbows. “I always get nervous when it comes to the boats and kids.”
“Really?” She said.
“It’s a big responsibility knowing your mom and dad trust your care to me.”
“I dreamed I fell out of the boat last night.” She held up her fingers. “I was this far away from the dock before I sank under the dark water.”
I flipped my clip board over and handed it to her. “Read that.”
“The lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
“Skip that,” I said, “Start here.”I underlined His rod and staff they comfort me. She read the sentence.
“See that guy? That’s Rod. See his shirt—it says STAFF?” The girl grinned. “You don’t think having a guard named Rod was a coincidence, do you? We had to hunt hard to find him.”She stood and walked toward Rod. I saw her mouth his name as Rod winked and nodded she’d be okay.
I’ve been afraid, too—unsure about the dark waters I was about to enter. Was it deep? Could I manage the current? Would God lead me out there then abandon me? He never has. Every step I take He protects. Sometimes He lets me wander but He never lets me get out of sight without calling me back.
And unless I decide to trek out on my own, I rarely get hurt. Even at that, God is still there to pick up the pieces.
Was it a coincidence that we had a staff member named Rod that summer? Don’t know, but his presence served as a constant reminder that my Shepherd is always close at hand and I have nothing…absolutely nothing to fear.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and co-founders of ChristianDevotions.us. They co-write the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host BlogtalkRadio's Christian Devotions Speak UP! along with Marianne Jordan.
And now you can catch them each Friday evening at 7 p.m. on He Said, She Said Radio! (Call in number, 646-929-0706 ). They travel with Christian Devotions Ministries teaching the art of writing devotions at writers conferences across the country. Eddie and Cindy are featured in Spirit & HEART: A Devotional Journey.
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing