For You Are With Me

Series: Day 14 | Psalm 23:1-6 | Day 30 | Psalm 23:1 | He Restores My SoulFor His Name’s Sake | For You Are With MeYou Prepare A Table Before Me | Surely, Forever

I have a confession to make:

I’ve been watching sheep videos again.

This time, my goal was to understand the significance of the shepherd’s rod, or “crook,” as they call it. Obviously, things have changed since shepherding first took off centuries ago, but even today, people still use staffs to herd sheep.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. | Psalm 23:4

How can this shepherd’s tool be a source of comfort for the sheep? While it can be used to protect sheep from predators and to guide sheep along a path, the shepherd’s crook can also be used to catch sheep by the neck or foot. In all the videos I watched, it seemed like a pretty uncomfortable thing to be on the other end of.

And yet David says it brings him comfort, even in the worst of situations.

Well, there are the obvious explanations:

We are comforted knowing that our Good Shepherd protects us from even the most vile predators. He uses His rod both offensively and defensively to ward off those who threaten to harm or devour us.

We are comforted knowing that our Good Shepherd leads us away from treacherous paths. He uses His staff to steer us back along the right, good, and safe paths. He uses His staff to block off the paths He wishes us to steer clear of.

We might even be comforted in considering how our Good Shepherd catches us by the foot or neck when we are in a precarious position, as uncomfortable as it may seem. He uses His crook to hold us steady as He tends to our medical and maintenance needs. He uses His crook to keep us from falling off a cliff or into a hole.

Yes, all of these are comforting aspects of the shepherd’s rod. But perhaps what provides us with the most peace is this: Our Good Shepherd holds that staff as a symbol of His authority and power to lead, protect, and provide for us, His sheep.

As the One who has all authority and all power, as the sovereign God of the universe, we can find comfort in knowing that our Good Shepherd is able to do all that we read in this Psalm and more. We can trust Him fully because of this – even in the darkest of times and in the hardest of situations.

And because we know He has all authority and power, because we know He is sovereign, there is absolutely

no need to fear. 

The sheep see the shepherd’s staff and they know they can trust Him in the face of any situation – when has he ever led them astray? We see our Good Shepherd’s staff, the Word of God, and we too come to the same realization. Is any situation too difficult or too big for our God?

The Word of God is the staff before us. It arms us, protects us, guides us, admonishes us, and ultimately reminds us of the authority, power, and sovereignty of our Good Shepherd.

Whether on the mountaintops of life, or in the valleys below, whether on solid ground or knee-deep in quicksand, whether near peaceful springs or rushing waters, we can boldly declare,

“I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

His staff  brings courage and comfort to our hearts.

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