Thursday, March 31, 2016

23. The Sanctuary of Eternal Blessings: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23:6b

March 31
 
            As I finish the 23rd psalm, today’s lesson is perhaps among my favorite of this psalm and of all of the Bible. I shared my testimony last night and the need I had which led me to my salvation was simply this: I wanted to go to Heaven! I still want to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I am a little jealous when I go to a funeral and while there is still work to do here on earth, Paul said to live is Christ and to die is gain.
            The Persuasion: “I will dwell…” God wants me to be assured of my future dwelling place. 1 John 5:13 says, “These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe in the name of the Son of God.” Yesterday we saw the surety of earthly blessings, but our eternal blessings are equally sure. Eternal life would not be very long if you could lose it. Paul was persuaded than nothing could separate him from the love of God (Rom. 8:38). He told Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  The psalmist didn’t say “I hope to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” He knew he would.
            The Place: “…in the house of the Lord…” Wherever Christ is, that will be the house of the Lord. Revelation says that Heaven will come down to earth and Christ will reign here so Heaven is wherever Christ is. Until then, we have a place, and it’s a place that began with the thief on the cross. Jesus assured that criminal who died with Him that he would be in paradise with Christ the same day. Luke 23:43 says, “And Jesus said to him, Verily (most assuredly, truly) I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in paradise.”
No “could”.
No “maybe”.
No “might possibly be with Me.”
            Paul assured us that we would be immediately in Heaven. 2 Cor. 5:6-8 “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight). We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
The Permanence: “forever.” We may not permanently be in the heavenlies, but we will permanently be in the house of the Lord, in His presence. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says we will ever be with Him: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
What will we be doing there? We will be reigning “forever” and then the Apostle John adds“and ever” in Rev. 22:5.

With this being March 31, the final day of this devotional, and the little bit that I know of what tomorrow holds, I can think of no better way to conclude this devotional by letting you know how God surely feels by my good friend Rick (click here or below). Thanks for reading and may God bless you in your continual walk. 

video


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

22. The Surety of Earthly Blessings: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

Psalm 23:6a

 March 30 

            The promise. As we finalize the last verse of this short but rich psalm, there is surely a promise of protection of God’s goodness and mercy. This word “surely” is not like our “surely” which we use today. You know, the “Surely, you can’t be serious!” phrase. There is a certainty in this final word of encouragement.

            The protection. The promise of protection is two-fold: goodness, which is the extension of God’s kindness, His righteousness, and bestowing of good things; mercy is the withholding or retraction of God’s punishment and anger. Goodness is revealed when we are obedient. Mercy is revealed when we are disobedient.

           The pursuit. Since the shepherd always leads in front, there must be “sheep dogs” who follow behind. Those two rearguards of goodness and mercy are like the hounds which pursue the fox. In fact, the word “follow” is more often translated as “to pursue” or even “to chase.” The word is literally a dogged word (Please do not groan so loudly). 

           F.B. Meyer in the Shepherd’s Psalm wrote, “In the East the shepherd always goes in front. And our Good Shepherd never puts us forth to the work or warfare of any day without going before us. But His shepherd-dogs bring up the rear. We have a rearguard against the attack of our treacherous foes.”

 Michael Card wrote a song, The Hound of Heaven, based on a poem by an opium addict, Francis Thompson. The song and poem speaks of God’s pursuit of us, likening our Shepherd to a hound. Once the wandering sheep surrenders to God’s pursuit, he hears a voice saying,

“I did not take him for your harm /
I only wanted you to seek them in my arms/
The dark and gloom you said you could no longer stand /
Was, after all, the shadow of My loving hand /
How little worthy of My love could anyone be /
Who else could ever love you, save only … Me”

            There is not only a promise of blessings to me, but a call for these blessings to come through me. Perhaps the writer is saying that goodness and mercy will be my legacy which follows after me. Wouldn’t we all like to have it said of us as our epitaph: “He was a good man,” or “she was always full of mercy.” Jesus said, “A good tree will bear good fruit” and “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

     Since God follows me with such assured goodness and mercy all the days of my lifetime, then while I am here on earth, I should likewise extend goodness and mercy to others.

             

“Bless you Father, for pursuing me with goodness and mercy.
Let me bless others by doing the same. Amen.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

21. The Superabundance of the Spirit: my cup runneth over

Psalm 23:5d

March 29

            I said something in my sermon the other day that wasn't in my notes but my point was supposed to be that often times we as Christians stop at the resurrection and don’t go on to the fullest purpose of our salvation. We are glad enough to go to heaven that we don’t appreciate the ultimate goal of Christianity.


            If eternal life in heaven was our ultimate goal, then why not go there now? What is the point of this life, just to decide where we will spend eternity? No, we have to go back to the fall, and the reason why Adam was banned from the Garden of Eden in the first place. “'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.' Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
 
            He didn’t banish us from the Garden to punish us, but to bless us by not allowing us to eat of the tree of life and as a result forever be in a fallen state. We are not to stay separated from God. David longed for those times when his cup overflowed with the anointing. He saw his predecessor and his nemesis, King Saul, as the anointed king and he also saw the Spirit flee from him (1 Samuel 16:4). David pleaded with the Lord not to ever take His Holy Spirit from him (Ps. 51:11). But now thanks to the cross, nothing can separate us from the Lord. (See Lesson 15: Psalm 24:4d)

            You see, God doesn’t want us to live forever in a fallen state and He never wants to be separated from us. If the oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit, then “running over” would surely symbolize the lavish flowing of the Spirit within us out of His mercy. He anoints our head and catches the runoff in a cup and even still, that doesn’t capture it all.

            Because of the cross, our sins were taken away.
            Because of the resurrection, we have eternal life.
            But because of Pentecost, we have God’s Spirit living in us now and forever.

            The words “overflow” and “baptize” and “filled” means to saturate. We are baptized in the Holy Spirit at salvation and filled with the Holy Spirit in our obedience. 

            Jimmy Dean sang a song about drinking from the saucer because my cup has overflowed. It doesn’t exactly apply here, but I sure do like it.

I never made a fortune and it's probably too late now
But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow
And as I go along life's journey, I'm reaping better than I sowed
I'm drinking from my saucer, cause my cup has overflowed.

I ain't got a lot of riches, and sometimes the goings tough
but I've got kids who love me and that makes me rich enough
I just thank God for his blessings and the mercies he's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer, cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong, and my faith got a little thin
but then all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeked through again
so Lord help me not to gripe about the tough rows I hoed
I'm drinking from my saucer, cause my cup has overflowed.

And if God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for another blessing, I'm already blessed enough
And may I never be too busy to help another bear his load
I'll keep drinking from my saucer, cause my cup has overflowed.

Amen. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

20. The Sanctification of the Spirit: Thou anointest my head with oil

Psalm 23:5c

March 28


    Why would a shepherd literally anoint the head of a sheep with oil? For a practical reason, Phillip Keller, who worked as a shepherd, rather graphically explains, “Sheep are especially troubled by the nose fly. They buzz about the sheep’s head, attempting to deposit their eggs on the damp, mucous membranes of the sheep’s nose. If successful, the eggs will hatch in a few days to form small, slender, worm-like larvae. They work their way up the nasal passages into the sheep’s head, irritating and inflaming their heads. But if the oil is applied to the sheep’s head and nose, the flies never get the chance to implant the irritating eggs.” 

     But beyond literal practicality, there are symbolic and spiritual applications: 

A.   Oil is repeatedly a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
1)    Other things also symbolize the Holy Spirit, such as the dove or water, but the anointing with oil physically demonstrated a spiritual reality and prepared the person for God to use them. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.” 1 Sam. 16:13.
2)    Often times the word oil is not used, but anointing is strongly associated with oil, so much so that oil is implied, even if not physically present. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel…” Luke 4:18 a (see also Isa. 61:1, and Ps. 89:20)
3)    Messiah means anointed one so when I think of the Good Shepherd anointing my head, I need to ask for His power so that I can do good as He did. When He anoints me with His Spirit, I know I have the God of the universe within me.  “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 
4)    The Jewish people would also take notice that the head specifically was anointed. They would remember than Aaron, the priest, was anointed with oil on his head. Prophets, priests and kings are inaugurated into office with the anointing of oil on their heads (see 1 Kings 19:16, 2 Kings 9:3). 
a.    He has called me to be a prophet to declare His truths. (1 Cor. 14:1)
b.    He has called me to be a priest to present God to the people and to pray for people back to God. (1 Peter 2:9)
c. He will, in the resurrection prepare me to reign as priest and king in His kingdom (Rev. 5:10).

B.   Oil is also a symbol of setting apart, such as a greeting for a very special guest. Oil is often called “holy anointing oil,” (Exod. 30:25, 31; 37:29) with holy meaning “set apart.” Oil is used in praying over the sick
1)    God sets us apart with the Holy Spirit to show we are special to Him.  When Jesus went to Simon’s house, where a woman anointed his feet and wiped them with her hair, Jesus mentioned that Simon did not anoint his head with oil. Elsewhere he was anointed with oil on His head and feet. It was not a common practice, but when it was done, it show extreme honor.
2)    God sanctifies us with the Holy Spirit for service. Oil not only anointed people, but also the tabernacle and its utensils. When Stephen preached before the Council, the Bible says he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Other times the Spirit’s filling gives us boldness, discernment and other ministries for service. When we fast and pray, we are to anoint our heads with oil. We always have the Holy Spirit and He will never leave us, but there are times when we are filled with the Holy Spirit for anointed service.
3)    God sets me apart with the Spirit as sealing me as a proof, promise and protection for our salvation and redemption.
a.    2 Corinthians 1:22 - who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
b.    Ephesians 1:13 - In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
c.    Ephesians 4:30 - And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
4)    Anointing with oil is also symbolic for healing. If any are sick, they are to call for the elders to anoint with oil and to pray (James 5:14). The oil reminds us that God has power for healing, whatever method He uses. The greatest healing is the healing from our sins. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)


     “Lord, sanctify me with your Holy Spirit.
Set me apart for your service today.
Keep me safe from Satan's infestation
in my thoughts and actions. Amen.”
 


Friday, March 25, 2016

Were YOU There?


     “Were you there?” The song has a haunting melancholy flow to it that makes the singer or listener ponder our own sinfulness that led up to Jesus’ crucifixion. I was at a Good Friday service listening to this song and it caused me to think...

     “Were you there” when Jesus asked the disciples to pray? Have you ever been weary and lax in praying, falling asleep when you needed to be vigilant?

     “Were you there” when opposition came to arrest Jesus? We all have had times when we could have stood with Jesus and yet we fled. From a distance we warm our hands at the fire, while Jesus is beaten and mocked. Our gaze leaves the security of the fire only to lock eyes with our Lord who looks at us not so much when condemnation we deserve, but with eays saddened and grieved by our abandonment of Him.


     “Were you there” when mockers questioned whether Jesus was the Christ? No, we wouldn’t taunt Him, but we have questioned him. We’ve been angry with Him. We have put Christ on trial when we go through our trials and somehow we proclaim Him guilty of not being the Messiah we wanted Him to be. Yes, we’ve been there.

     “Were you there” in Judas’ regret? Materialism sways us from following Christ. We’ve compromised for far less than 30 pieces of silver. The hollow and empty return of our investment ends at a pauper’s grave, knowing we’ve betrayed innocent blood in our selfish greed, but it is too late.

     “Were you there” in Pilate’s indecision? Back and forth we go, should we or shouldn’t we? We know what is right, and yet we feel we can do what is wrong and merely wash our hands after the deed is done. We question, look for a loophole, then wind up listening to the crowd. Yes, we have been there.

     “Were you there” with chief priest and scribes? Religious ritualism, not atheism, is the true opposition of Christianity. Security over sacred, familiar traditions over true relationship with God robs us from fellowship with our Lord. “His blood be upon us and our children” is indeed what we need to say, yet we cry out “we have no king but Caesar.”

     “Were you there” in calling for Barabbas to be freed? One guilty goes free, while One innocent pays a price undeservedly. The great exchange does more than free one murderer. Had Christ been freed, we all would be as enchained, imprisoned and ultimately executed as Barabbas should have been. Yet we can walk free. Yes, we were there.

     “Were you there” when He could not carry the cross? Did you weep as He passed, only to hear Him say “weep for yourselves and your children”? We would not have helped carry that cross unless someone forced us to. The weight would be too heavy, the Savior’s blood on the cross would ruin our clothes. We have other things to do than carry that cross, or so we think until we are forced to walk that Via de la Rosa at the pulled sword of the Roman guard.

     “Were you there” on your own cross for your own sins? Which one were you? Taunting until the end, or pleading for a simple remembrance by the Lord when He enters the Kingdom. Pain on your hands and feet fade with His words of Hope, “Today…Paradise.”

     “Were you there” with His mother? Who is His mother? Where are His brothers and sisters? They are not still here on earth, are they? “Behold thy mother,” He whispered. “Behold thy son,” He groaned. The least of these are still among us. “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” He had asked so long ago. “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

     Was I there? Yes, we all were and sometimes it causes me to tremble.


Pray: Precious Lord Jesus. Thank you is not enough. Words are not enough. My life back to You is not enough. Only Your blood was enough to allow me to say simply this: Thank You. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

19.The Surrounding of Adversity: In the presence of mine enemies

Psalm 23:5b
March 24

The Opposition’s Presence- Jesus never promised that this world would be easy. Nor did He say that His sheep would live without the presence of the enemies of God. Why would God allow evil in the world? We are not of this world, but we are to bring light to the darkness, and not the other way around.
            Sometimes THE enemy, that is, Satan, can use our friends, our family, even ourselves. The phrase, “We are our own worst enemy” is not entirely true. Our worst enemy is the devil and he just uses others to get at us.
Jesus said in John 17: 11-21 “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. …I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world….As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. …that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
            I felt some genuine evil this week, both in the source and in my reaction which I had. Sometimes our enemies are not really our enemies, but it is the evil force behind the attack. One of the things I kept repeating was “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

The Overcoming Peace – Jesus does not leave us as orphans, nor does He leave us to fend for ourselves alone, but rather that the table is prepared in the presence of our enemies so that we could have a witness.
John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
            We need to be on the guard against the enemy but also remember that God also guards us against our enemy. There is another phrase: “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies sometimes to keep us close to Him.

Our Father in Heaven,  and my Shepherd on earth, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

18 (pt. 2). The Supply of Nourishment: "a table before me"

Psalm 23:5a

March 22


I saw these sheep the other day while in Waco with my son and
daughter-in-law and grandson. 
By now (perhaps long before now), many of you reading this may say this is way too much analysis. Perhaps, but I simply share what God shares with me. I love the 23rd Psalm, perhaps as much as I love the Gospel of John. Hence I write as though something, perhaps His great love, compels me, not really caring who reads this or what is thought of my rambling writings. Lesson 18 became way too long, so I expanded this part of verse 5 as 5a, part 2.
The Provision: God provides a table of spiritual nourishment. Nowhere in the Old Testament is the word table used for a “tableland” of grass. Clearly the table is symbolic parable for spiritual food which the Lord prepared for me. This “table” is filled with abundant spiritual nourishment. When Peter professed his love for Christ, in his three-fold restoration at the Sea of Galilee found in John 21, Christ responded with one command “Feed My lambs…shepherd My sheep…Feed My sheep.”

            The Apostle Paul also was concerned that the church needed to be protected and fed in Acts 20:28: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to feed the church of God.”

            And if that were not enough, Peter also urges the pastors who read his epistle to “feed the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2). God will feed us through our pastors and spiritual leaders, but most of all, through His Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Place: God places the table in front of His sheep. 

            We already saw that the Shepherd prepared a table beforehand, but this “before me” is not so much of a time but rather a place. The word before means “In front of my face and before my very eyes,”  It is in this place that the Shepherd shows me the table of nourishment He has prepared for me. God demonstrates the place of His provision in the parable of the separation of the sheep and the goats, found in Matthew 25:34 – “Then the King shall say to (the sheep) at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

            For those who reject Christ, there is another prepared place, but it was prepared for the devil and his demons. “Then He shall say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

            Where is that kingdom place, that spiritual inheritance? He has prepared it in front of me, even though I cannot see it with my physical eyes. Jesus said in Luke 17:20-21, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;  nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” 

“Dear Shepherd, before my spiritual eyes, I see a table of heavenly food prepared.
May I feast at your banqueting table. Amen.”

Monday, March 21, 2016

18. The Supply of Nourishment: "Thou preparest"


Psalm 23:5a

March 21

            Psalm 23:5 keeps the intimate second person language which began in verse 4, with the sheep addressing the shepherd directly. In all, there are ten lessons to be learned in these tender two verses. As I, His sheep, communes with my shepherd, I see the prepared supply of nourishment, despite the surrounding of the enemies. In this verse, I see my Shepherd anoint my head with the overflowing abundance of His Spirit.  

The Preparation: God has prepared for me a table. The word “prepare” means to “lay in order.” He has been expecting me and prepared a table as I come out of the Valley of the Death Shadow.

            God prepared my salvation and chose me in Christ. Ephesians 1:4 – “He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.”  He invites the entire world to His prepared table, but some will not come. Matthew 22 says, 4He sent out his servants, saying, ‘Tell them “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: … all things are ready, come to the marriage.”  I love how the servants gathered “as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests” (22:10). I do not have to be good enough to come to His table, I simply must respond and be clothed in His forgiveness (22:12).

            He is right now preparing heaven for me. John 14 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

His preparations are quite unimaginable. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) 

“Dear Shepherd, before my spiritual eyes, I see a table of heavenly food prepared. May I feast at your banqueting table. Amen.”

Sunday, March 20, 2016

17. The Solace in Correction: "they comfort me"

Psalm 23:4f
March 20 

            Have you ever literally breathed a deep sigh of relief? That’s what the word “comfort” literally means. When translators were putting this verse from Hebrew into the Greek they used the word which is translated into English as to encourage, or to implore. Elsewhere in the Hebrew the word means to repent, relent, or to feel sorry. Have you ever been so anguished where you could not breathe? The word "comfort" is a word that was used when someone was in deep sorrow and anguish and others come along side and try to lift that person up.
            How can a rod, used for correction, and a staff, used to support, lift up and provide protection, bring such comfort in times when there is such anguish that I can barely breathe?
            There is a solace in God’s correction. In Job 5:17-18 it says, “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: do not despise the chastening of the Almighty: For He bruises but He binds up, He wounds but His hands make whole.”  In Proverbs 3:11, it is written, “Do not despise the chastening of the LORD or grow weary of his correction.”
            The New Testament says that correction by God is a sign of His love and also of our being His children, “9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:9-11)
            One of my favorite passages of Scriptures is 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 where there are nine times in four short verses that some form of the word comfort or consolation is used, beginning with calling God the God of all comfort. Paul returns to the comfort theme again in chapter 7:4-13. It is my favorite because Paul says that one of the best ways we are comforted by God is when others come alongside of us. It is like the girl who went to her parents for comfort and the mother said, “Child, the Lord is with you!” The girl tearfully crawls into bed and says, “I know, but I want someone with skin on.”
Will you be God’s comfort “with skin on” to someone who needs it?


“Lord, console me with your rod and staff.
Lead to others who need your comfort
and let me help them to breathe. Amen.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

16. The Security of His Protection Thy rod and Thy staff


Psalm 23:4e

March 19

 
A rod is used for correcting the sheep. The same word is used in Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
The rod is also used for counting the sheep, as in Lev. 27:32, “whatever passes under the rod, a tenth shall be holy to the Lord.” The shepherd would count his sheep not just for making sure that he had them all but also so that he would also give back to the Lord a tenth, or that which was holy to God. In ministry we count people because people count. Numbers are important to the Lord because each number represents a person. The rod also reminds me to count whatever the Lord has entrusted to me, whether it is time, money, abilities and other resources, and wants us to count it as holy to the Lord.

The rod is used for commanding the sheep. The word for rod is also translated as scepter ten times. For instance, Ps. 45:6 says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. The rod of God shows the command of the Lord which is sovereign. When you need some comfort and security from the Shepherd, look to His sovereign scepter and bow in prayer but also bow in obedience. God is in charge and is sovereign.

A staff is used for the protection of the sheep. Sheep are vulnerable to prey and when David went to fight Goliath, he remembered that he used his staff to fight off enemies of his sheep. “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.” Later, David not only took his sling and some stones to fight Goliath but 1 Samuel 17:40 says, “he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had.”


The staff was also used to represent the very presence of the owner. Elisha gave his staff to Gehazi, saying, “Take my staff in your hand, and be on your way...Lay my staff on the face of the child.” In so doing, it was a representation of the prophet's presence. In the New Testament, God's presence with us is called the Comforter. The Holy Spirit is more than a representation, the Comforter is the actual and very presence of God within us.
Tomorrow, we will see more of how the rod and staff comfort, correct and protect us.

“Dear Lord, help me gain comfort even in your correction and protection of me. Thank you for the presence of Your Holy Spirit in me.  Amen.”