God's Comfort is Good

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod <07626> and thy staff <04938> they comfort me.

07626 shebet {shay'-bet}
AV - tribe 140, rod 34, sceptre 10, staff 2, misc 4; 190

04938 mish`enah {mish-ay-naw'}
AV - staff 11, stave 1; 12

Psalm 23 is probably the most well-known, and most quoted piece of Scripture from God’s Word. Christianity has approached Verse 4 of this Psalm, as seeing God’s "comfort" as being chastisement. Please allow me to submit to you that this is NOT a picture of harsh chastisement to His children, but rather the love of God showing forth His care and concern for His flock. The terminology that God has utilized in this verse, is, of course, an allusion to the Shepherd’s crook or staff, and the valley of the shadow of death, is a picture of the sheep that wanders in the dark valley without his shepherd. We know that we serve the Chief Shepherd:

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

In the most simplistic way, the presence, power, and protection of Yeshua [Christ], by the Brit Chadasha [Gospel] and Torah [ordinances], are what are intended here, and which are the comfort and safety of his people, in the worst of times and cases. Dear Reader, please note that safety is also a facet of all that the word "comfort" expresses. Comfort was never intended by God to imply "feeling good or comfortable." If you will ponder the word for just a moment, you would have to agree that without the aspect of safety, there could be no realistic comfort.

A Shepherd will always CARE for his sheep. He doesn’t chastise them for his good pleasure, but, rather, lovingly corrects them, if needed.

At night the shepherd would bring the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. This is the TRUE description of a shepherd. Does this sound like the ROD is an item to be avoided? May it never be!! As you may have already realized, these same sheep could NOT enter in through the DOOR, unless they passed under the rod.

Perhaps THIS is the crux of the whole perceptual problem within the current mindset of Christianity? Have we become such an arrogant people that we think we are above being corrected by God? Have we become so self-esteemed that we think we don’t need to obey correction from God? What is the correction that God has already given us for our benefit?

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

God has already given us His correction, and it is long past the time when we should heed His correction in ALL things. That is, all holy Scripture; for that is what the apostle Paul is speaking of; and he means the whole of it; not only the books of the New Covenant, but of the Old Covenant also! This very same Scripture pertains to everything in this life; whether with respect to God, or toward one another.

The Scriptures are the breath of God, the Word of God and not men; they are "written by the Spirit of God," albeit, translated by man. Beloved, if you do not believe that the very heart of God’s character is evidenced by His Word that He has left entrusted to us, then you need to repent, and seek your Messiah, as any further admonitions would fall on deaf ears.

The Aramaic counterpart for the word "rod" [Heb, shebet] is sharbit [Sceptre]. This masculine noun is found only four times in the Old Covenant, and all instances are in the book of Esther (4:11; 5:2 twice; 8:4). Only the acknowledgement of this golden stick could save from certain death the one who entered the throne room of the Persian king unannounced. Does this scenario strike a chord in your heart? It should! Our King is the only one who has the authority to judge who may enter into His Throne Room!

Because of our Shepherd’s love and care for us, He has given us His Word, which we should be diligent to learn, to keep, and to do:

Deuteronomy 5:1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

Alas!! Do I hear someone crying "Law, Law"? As a reminder, in this particular chapter, Moses is simply presenting the Decalogue to the people; The Ten Commands. Does the bloodshed of Yeshua [Jesus] atone for the mistakes we make in breaking any of these? Most assuredly! Should we press on toward the goal of maintaining a lifestyle that is totally aligned with the Decalogue? My prayer for us all! The Ten Commands are the basics for living a moral life toward God and man. If we’ve been cleansed by the blood of Yeshua, shouldn’t this be our desire?

Beloved, we have got to get our view of God’s Word into the same perception that God had when giving it to us. It was given for our GOOD, not our detriment. The simple action that is required, is obedience from our heart of thankfulness for all He has done for us. This obedience CANNOT be offered to God by necessity, nor by works. All obedience to God must be rendered to Him from the love that He has already shed abroad in our hearts. If we fail in obeying God in the manner which He has prescribed, then any offering we make unto God is unacceptable in His sight.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Sacrifices have passed away, since there is no Temple, and there remains no Levitical Priesthood. These same sacrifices were allowed, by God, to point to the coming Messiah. We have acknowledged that Messiah has come, and the canon of Scripture has been completed. There are no new revelations of His Glory.

John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Some of the sacrifices were excellent sacrifices, but knowledge of God is preferred to them. In the life of The First Century Church, the highest form of worship that could be attained, was the study of God’s Word. It would behoove us to return to the TRUE First Century worship!!! Beloved, He has given us all that pertains to life and godliness in His Word!

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: [Underline added for emphasis]

For those who do not desire to follow the mandate that God has given us out of the depths of His love toward us, there is always option number two. He created every one of us with a free-will, and He will not manipulate that which He has given us. It is a CHOICE that we each must make daily, on an individual basis.

Dear Reader, do not be deceived. When something that you deem BAD happens in your life, you cry out against the devil! Do you think satan has co-equal power with God??? Never! Satan is nothing more than a created being. The created one is NEVER equal in power to the Creator. Get this, please!

So, if we have sufficiently settled the FACT that no other creature has power equal to the Creator, then why do the rod and the staff not FEEL comfortable? Could it be that we have not submitted ourselves to the Word of God? Have we gone our own way? Do we know what is waiting for us down the road of life? These are things we should consider on a regular basis. God knows of our submission or rebellion to His Word. God knows if we are following His path or our own ways. God knows precisely what lies ahead for us in our lives.

When His rod and His staff comforts us, sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s being directed from the hand of our loving Father. Let me reassure you, He is El Gibbor [Almighty God]. There will surely come a time when it is not "comfortable" to be poked and prodded with the rod and staff of God, but it is certainly necessary to our well-being to keep us from falling off of a spiritual or physical cliff. Would the following be viewed in your eyes as something done out of the heart of a loving shepherd? Correlate the following to the love our Chief Shepherd has for us.

Extreme dedication, watchfulness and tenderness were required to perform the routine duties of the Shepherd:

John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Then, in the pasture, they were watched over by the Shepherd, who was assisted by his trusty dogs. They were to be watered, and in the evening, brought back to the fold, and counted by "passing under the rod." Finally, the entrance of the fold had to be watched throughout the night. It was absolutely critical that not a single sheep be lost, and if one was, the Shepherd would seek after it until it was found. However, if any lamb continued to stray, the Shepherd would break one of its front legs, so that it could not walk by itself. He would then tend the young animal, and transport it to and fro, straddled across his back, until it could walk again with the flock. While it was straddled across his back, he would continuously talk to the lamb, because his voice was a source of comfort to the young animal.

Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Beloved, Yeshua HaMashiach [Jesus, the Messiah], is our Deliverer also! He is the one who is willing and able to deliver us out of snares, whether they be a test from the enemy of God, or a result of our own disobedience! Can you see the picture presented in the story of the shepherd? Can we expect any less from the Chief Shepherd?

One of my greatest concerns in this day in which we live, is that we are caught unaware as to the real deficit in the Body of Messiah. Please do not be hasty to attribute every small inconvenience in your life to the work of the enemy! Preserve the honor that is due God! There is no power, nor any circumstance in your life, which He is NOT in absolute control over! Not one! If you are serving Yeshua Adonai [Jesus, the Lord] with every ounce of your heart, soul and strength, then nothing can touch you except that the finger of God has appointed it. These things are meant for our good, not for our destruction. We need to GROW in the instructions of the Lord, rather than balk at them, so that we can be more and more conformed to His image. If there is any doubt as to the happenings in the life of a person who is considered righteous by God’s standards, I would remind you of Job. He was perfect, upright, and feared God. Did this absolve him of any tests in his life? Of course it didn’t!!!

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

It would seem from this passage that God was allowing Satan to test Job, to build and strengthen Job’s integrity!!! Did God NOT know the integrity of Job? Of course He did! You see, Job did not know his OWN integrity. After we look back on a test of this sort, we can question ourselves as to why we had so LITTLE integrity, that God deemed it necessary to build it into our very being! Remember, Saints, tests are given to strengthen one’s character; to make actual that which is potential, from our limited view. God tested Abraham with the binding of Isaac. Can we expect any less? Realistically, a test is a true opportunity to grow whereby we are forced to make a choice between God’s way, will, desires ABOVE our own!

Stay in fellowship with God to taste and see that the Lord is good! You can know Him, and all that He represents in your life, by studying His Word. Let the truth and love of Him reflect from His Word into your life. Cling to His Word, for in Him only will you find Life!

In closing, I want to encourage you to welcome the rod and the staff of God. All that He is expresses Himself as tov miod — very good!

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [Underline added for emphasis]

Humbly submitted for the building up of the saints
Anna L. Schwery Yad b’Yad Ministries
Questions or comments on this article? Contact the author.

Yad b'Yad Articles