Psalm 23 v 4
Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me are metaphors
“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.” Rainer Maria Rilke, Translations from the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
This is true, clinging unnecessarily to a person, a feeling, ideal, or value comes easy. But when that thing becomes destructive, the letting go is the hard part.
John Callahan aids our understanding of these important metaphors
During times of struggle and danger, Jesus is there to comfort us. While the rod and the staff are used both for protection and discipline, it is important to notice that the goal is comfort. The meaning of the Hebrew word for rod (sebet) and staff (mishena) are very special. The Hebrew word – sebet, has the idea of a stick. It originally referred to a part on a tree. In old Hebrew, stick was used to count sheep and also to protect them from other animals (Leviticus 27.32). God is using his rod and staff to comfort you. The Hebrew word for comfort in nhm, which means both comforts or to console and has a strong emotional sense to it.
Wow, I find that really comforting, do you? God keeps a tally of us. He counts us so he knows that when we go astray, which one is missing. He uses that same counting measure to protect us from evil. After all, Jesus taught us to pray ‘deliver us from the evil one’. But he needs our permission to do that. That’s is why the Lord’s prayer is an asking prayer and not a declaration prayer. The staff is to guide and draw us back into the fold when we stray. God has all the bases covered, all we need to do is allow God to act on our behalf. Allow God to protect and comfort you, and I believe this is a daily thing. Each new day arrives with new challenges, and to refresh our memory and commitment to allow God to act on our belief is part of our relationship with him.
So take up the challenge today to let go and let God.