But God- Our Discipline is His Word


But God Image_Color_CrossLet's continue our journey in the 23rd Psalm. We have been in verse 4. We have looked at the valley and the shadow and that even though we experience them, our Shepherd gets us through them after He has used them for our benefit. We looked at choosing not to fear the evil in them, because our Shepherd is with us and He is FOR us. He has committed Himself and all that He is and all that He has to the care of His sheep. Please let that marvelous truth sink deeply into your mind. He has totally committed Himself to you! Although we have only scratched the surface of these lines, it is time to move on.

The final sentence of verse 4 goes like this: 'Your rod and your staff, they comfort me'. I believe there is much misunderstanding around this sentence. In this segment (and probably one or two more) we will talk about the shepherd's rod. Then we will look at his staff.

Usually when we hear the word rod, we think of punishment. That is NOT one of its uses. It IS used for discipline, which is quite different than punishment. It is also used for protection and for cleansing. Let's talk about discipline. But first let's talk about the rod itself.

Shepherds traveled light. They had to carry everything they needed. Each shepherd's rod was hand made to fit their size and strength. The handle was carved to fit perfectly into the shepherd's hand. It would serve like an extension of their arm. Try to picture that. A shepherd was so accustomed to it being in his hand, it functioned almost like a part of his hand. Now to it being used for discipline.

Discipline is always motivated by love. It is administered for the benefit of the one being disciplined, and it is consistent, which is why David could say it comforts him. Punishment, on the other hand, is done in anger, it is done for the benefit of the one doing the punishing, and it is inconsistent. Punishment often occurs when the punisher forgets - or never knew - that the other is a precious gift, and views them as an inconvenient irritant.
Remember with me that a shepherd usually had at least a hundred sheep in his flock. He consistently kept his eyes on them as they were walking. When one of the sheep would begin to stray off into unbeknownst danger, the shepherd would throw his rod in front of the wandering sheep to get its attention and redirect the sheep back to the flock. The rod was never used to beat the sheep. They were precious to their shepherd.

For us as sheep of our Good Shepherd, our discipline comes from the Shepherd's Word, the Bible. When we get off track, He will use His Word to correct us. He will bring to mind something from His written Word to our mind by His Spirit. Other times He may bring His Word to us from a fellow believer. This discipline, this correction is always motivated by His love and seeing us as precious. It is swift and sure, for our benefit.

There are of course times when in our thinking our way is right and in our stubbornness we get into the dangerous areas- we will look at those in the future as that is when His staff comes into play.

But for now, I've found that when I keep the truth that I am incredibly precious to him in the forefront of my mind, I delight in staying near to my Shepherd, and wandering is not an issue. What a Shepherd we have.





If you want to know what someone really thinks, just listen to what they say after the word ‘but’ …so it is here with…”but God!”“

Note: “but God” is a weekly ministry of Robinson Outdoors Products written for us by pastor and spiritual counselor, Thomas Paige. “But God” is posted each week on the ScentBlocker website and can be found there along with the archives of messages of past years and months from Thomas. “But God” is also posted each week on ScentBlocker Facebook page and on Twitter.

You may ask, “why would Robinson, an outdoor products company with brands ScentBlocker and Tree Spider, making products for hunters, spend its time on something like “but God”?” Great question, as we here at Robinson consider our work place our mission field, our products bearing the John 3:16 inscription our outreach. In every new ScentBlocker jacket there is a laminated waterproof pocket insert that contains the salvation message printed in two languages. And, we ask the Lord to provide more opportunities for us to be a light unto a dark world.

What responses do we receive from our customers? Each week thousands and thousands of people read the “but God” message online. We receive dozens and dozens of appreciative emails, rejoicing that a company has the courage to stand up for what it believes despite perhaps it not being the most popular thing to do these days. God has blessed our lives and our business!

I hope you will enjoy this weeks’ “…but God” as Thomas continues the series, unto the Lord!

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