Part 8: PSALM 23:4b – “Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me”

June 15, 2014     Jane’s HEART TO HEART   …. PASTOR’S HELPMATE

PS. 23:4b “…THY  ROD AND STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.

REALLY!     COMFORT ME?

On a blog on the internet called Jodi’s Journal….Oct 2009 she also sites W. Phillip Keller in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.  How can a rod and staff bring comfort?  A rod and a staff are the universal instruments used by shepherds. The rod represents  God’s Word. It is absolute Truth and has full authority. God’s Word “keeps our lives free from confusion and chaos.” His Word brings peace and “quiet serenity.”

 The rod has four basic functions. First, “as a symbol of the shepherd’s strength, power, and authority.” Second, an instrument of discipline to correct wayward sheep. “With it, the owner is able to carry out effective control of his flock in every situation.” Third, to examine and count the sheep. The Old Testament term was “passing under the rod.”  Finally, it serves as an “instrument of protection for the shepherd and his sheep when  in danger.“

The staff represents the Holy Spirit who provides comfort to believers – He is the still, small voice that stirs our soul to desire intimacy with God.  Jesus promised that God would send the Holy Spirit. …“the Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13).

This reminds me of the small child screaming for his own way and when the wise parent steps in and corrects the child, then the child experiences a calm and even happiness in his boundary. The other day I heard a  wise parent say to a disobedient child: “Just remember if you are disobedient to me, then the Lord’s  correction may be  harder than mine.”

Often we live our lives on the “Zip line” of careless disobedience and when the  line breaks we cry out to God expecting answered prayer.   

“The Holy spirit says, ‘This is the way – walk in it.’ And as we comply with His gentle promptings, a sense of safety, envelops us. If we take the time to ask God for guidance, it “conveys the mind of Christ”  and there is a calm repose in the knowledge that He is there to direct  in the most minute details of our daily living.”

Ps. 37:3-4 says: “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

“…THY  ROD AND STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.

Part 3: PSALM 23: 2a “…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

PSALM 23: 2a “…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

Sheep graze from dawn until midmorning then the shepherd leads them to new green pastures which they can’t find on their own, or they will eat the grass to the bare ground. Once the sheep eat all they need they must lie down and chew their cud.  If one sheep bullies or butts another, this upsets all the sheep. They  refuse to lie down, their food cannot digest and they soon lose weight and grow weak.  The shepherd stops the fighting at once and the sheep lie down to chew their cud. Just as a shepherd calms his flock as he sits down among them, Jesus will calm you with His peace.  He does not want you to feel upset. 

In Lettie Cowman”s  book Streams in the Desert, P. 257) she writes of an experience shared by the captain, when on a steamer just  off the coast of Newfoundland.      He said, “The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which changed my whole Christian life. 

Missionary George Mueller of Bristol was on board. He told me that he needed to be in Quebec Saturday afternoon and when I told him it is was impossible he told me that he had never missed a speaking engagement in 57 years and if the ship could not take him that God would find another way. He then suggested that we go to the chart room and pray. I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, “this man must be crazy”.  I said to him, “Surely you do not know what a dense fog this is.” 

He said, “My eye is not on the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.”  He knelt down and prayed the most simple prayer I had ever heard, and when he had finished I was going to pray: but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. “First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.” Get up, Captain …open the door, and you will find the fog gone.”  I got up, and indeed, the fog was gone. George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement.  George Mueller had a great unswerving faith in the Good Shepherd.

You can give you burdens to the Shepherd, and show your husband,  children, parents, grandchildren, neighbors and co-workers the Lord can bring peace around you by your own example of trust in your Shepherd in every area of you life.  Just like a sheep lying down in green pastures…. You too can rest in Christ’s promises.

If our love were but more simple, 

We should take Him at His word;

And our lives would be all sunshine,

In the sweetness of the Lord.          

PSALM 23: 2a 

“…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

Part 1: PSALM 23:1a … “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD”

Jane’s Heart to Heart                  …….Pastor’s Helpmate

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD Psalm 23:1a

The Shepherd and The Sheep  

Several years ago at the MARBC Conference (1999) I received a complimentary copy of a children’s book entitled: COMFORT FOR A CHILD’S HEART, The Twenty-third Psalm and Bible Promises written and illustrated by David and Helen Haidele.  While we were ministering at the Jonesville Baptist Church I compiled a series of lessons on the 23rd Psalm using some of the illustrations in that book. For the next few weeks I want to capsulize these lessons and share them with you.

In 2008 I started crocheting Loopie Lambs for our grandchildren for Christmas using ONE OF Vana White’s patterns. I made fifteen of them.

I actually only made one this size.. (most of you have met Arnie, ) because of the difficulty and cost of making the loops. So the rest were about half that size.

This year I realized that we had two more grandchildren and  eleven greats plus three more on the way, who did not have a lamb.  After making five of them my arthritis in my thumb and wrist prohibited my making any more and one of our daughters asked…. “Why don’t you make something a little easier,” and sent   a link to a darling  crocheted bunny with a little blanket.

I told her that the reason that I want them to have the lamb was for a reminder that  “The Lord Is their Shepherd and they are His sheep.” I also included a short story about the 23 Psalm for their parents to read to them.

I searched on the internet and found some little lambs that were reasonable and bought enough for the rest of the children and those on the way and embellished them a bit to personalize them.

Psalm 23:1 A “The LORD is my shepherd…”

Let’s talk – Who is the LORD?   He is the One who made the universe…the stars, the planets, apples and butterflies, owls and lions.  The LORD  made you and me and knows our every need.  The LORD  gave His only begotten Son to die on the Cross for us, the sheep.  His Son,  JESUS was also called the “Lamb of God”, John the Baptist said so when he saw Jesus coming… “Behold the Lamb  of God,  who taketh away the SIN of the world.”.

So, who is the Shepherd?  Jesus said, “ I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep… And I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:11-15.   The shepherd is one who watches over sheep and takes care of them. The shepherd never takes time off.  Sheep are helpless and need the Shepherd always. The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He gave up His life for you because He loves you and cares for you just as a shepherd cares for one of his lambs.  He knows your name. He wants to be your shepherd.  Sheep know the shepherd’s voice.  They follow no one but their shepherd.  Just like a sheep, you can learn to know and trust Jesus as your Good Shepherd and you can learn to follow him and do what He tells you. You know – the more hurried our pace the less we experience our “Shepherd”.  If left to ourselves we will go until be fall down from exhaustion.

Do you trust Jesus as your Lord and Shepherd?

How often do you take time to be close to Jesus through prayer and Bible Reading ?

Get to know Him! You are one of His precious Lambs.

He speaks to us through our reading His Word.

How do we follow Him? …Through obedience to His Word.

                THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD