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.”


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