Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.- Psalms 23:4 NIV
No matter what we do in life, we use tools. For each trade, there are particular tools used. For example, we've had a painter at the house for several days, and I've been amazed at the array of implements used. Sure, there are paintbrushes, rollers, and drop cloths, but screwdrivers, putty knives, and other things—each of the tools having a specific purpose.
For the shepherd, there are two tools: the rod and the staff. The rod serves a dual purpose, keeping away the predators and prodding the sheep. The staff extends the shepherd's arm to reach across a span to redirect the sheep and the crook to pull them away from danger.
God is always with us to protect us from evil. Sometimes He uses the rod to fend off Satan's attacks, and at other times to keep us moving in the right direction, always directing us towards greener pastures, places of safety and rest. But, unfortunately, being obstinate sheep, we sometimes wander into areas of danger, and He uses the crook to pull us back into the flock.
While God is always watching over us, we, too, have responsibility for our spiritual safety. For this, God gives us some other tools. We have his Word, Jesus as our intercessor in prayer, and the Holy Spirit in making godly decisions.
God, our Good Shepherd, thank you for watching over us, providing guidance and protection. We especially give thanks for equipping us with the needed tools for our spiritual success. Please help us this day to recognize these gifts and use them in our journey to live as you would have us live. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.