In the 23rd Psalm, we see the passage that says, "His rod and His staff, they comfort me." Most people have heard this quoted numerous times and probably even have it memorized, but how many have actually stopped to think about what it means. Two tools used by a shepherd is the rod and the staff. We are familiar with the staff of the shepherd, the hooked stick that we see most shepherds depicted with. The staff is used to gently guide the sheep or even to rescue them from tight spots. It is easy to see the comfort in the staff. The rod however is an instrument designed to inflict pain in order to correct bad behavior. In our lives, God will use the rod of correction because He loves us. We can expect the rod when we ignore the gentle nudge of the staff.
Knowledge of the rod brings comfort to the believer because the Bible tells us that God disciplines those He loves. It is when we find ourselves under correction that we know that we are God's child and that He actually cares about how we live. The rod is also meant to protect the believer. When someone messes with us, they are messing with God's kid. The Bible says, "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord." God can fight our battles for us far better than we can. Also, God's vengeance is designed to draw the object of that vengeance unto Himself. When we retaliate the goal is to bring harm, when God disciplines it is meant for the good of the one being disciplined. Such is the love of the Father. Have comfort in the knowledge that God is intricately involved in your life and wants His best for you. Sometimes we respond to the staff and receive blessing and sometimes we need the rod. His love is demonstrated by His involvement in our lives.