Yea, 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.
A shepherd has many responsibilities with regards to looking after his flock. He has certain tools that aid in the execution of his duties. His staff and rod play a very crucial role and hence he is never without them. The staff is used to guide and to direct the flock. It is also used to count the sheep, and gives the shepherd the authority over the flock. The rod is used to protect the flock against predators that mean to cause harm. Whenever there is a threat the rod is hurled towards it and the threat is neutralized.
Another function that is not commonly spoken of is the function to discipline and to correct the flock. Once in a while a member of the flock strays away and refuses to cooperate. In its rebellion it has potential to mislead other sheep. Here the shepherd motivated by love has to inflict pain to the wayward member for its own good. Sometimes the discipline or correction may injure the sheep, but the shepherd will nurse it back to health. This process reminds the wayward sheep that the discipline was out of love and that the shepherd is still its master. During this critical period the shepherd does not desert the sheep but cares for it until it is well and ready to rejoin the flock.
The Bible teaches us that we are not illegitimate children so we must not despise rebuke and discipline, because GOD is a loving Father who cares for us (Hebrews 12:5-8). When we stray from the flock sometimes GOD will discipline us for our own good, that we may not mislead ourselves and others. If He spared the rod He would not be a loving Father (Proverbs 13:24).
Our pain is also His pain, our discomfort touches His heart. During the nursing back to health period Holy Spirit is there to comfort and to remind us of who we are in Him. During this period we must always remember that we are still God’s children and He has not forsaken us. The rod that may sometimes inflict pain can also be used to comfort and to bring us back into the flock. A truly loving and gentle shepherd we have in Jesus!
The Bible teaches us that we are not illegitimate children so we must not despise rebuke and discipline, because GOD is a loving Father who cares for us