During the summer months when the shepherd is with the sheep in the higher country, the shepherd brings minimal equipment with him. The shepherd’s rod and his staff are always with him.
The rod is an instrument used for protection both for the shepherd and his flock to drive off predators or to rescue sheep from danger. And the staff, which identifies a shepherd, is an instrument used for the care and management of the sheep. It is designed, shaped and adapted especially to the needs of the sheep.
I want to look more closely at these two distinct instruments and their purposes:
The rod is chosen that fits the size and strength of the shepherd~ to fit his hand perfectly. In essence, the rod was an extension of the shepherd’s right arm, which stands as a symbol of strength, power, authority in any dangerous situation. For the sheep, this instrument brought comfort because they knew they were in perfect care under the shepherd who the sheep completely trusted.
For us, the sheep of the Good Shepherd’s flock, we take comfort in the Shepherd’s rod, which is His powerful Word of Truth. This is as much an extension of our Shepherd, for He is the Word.
John 1 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (verse 14). Life in the Word. Light in the Word. Salvation in the Word. Purity in the Word. Joy in the Word. Protection in the Word. Wisdom in the Word. Healing in the Word. Freedom in the Word. Peace in the Word. Sustaining power in the Word. Creation in the Word. Beauty in the Word. Correction in the Word. Personality in the Word. Eternal is the Word. Holy is the Word. Perfect is the Word. Strength, ower and authority in the Word. The Word is Jesus. Your rod (Word) comforts me… The Word drives off predators and The Word rescues the sheep from danger.
The staff is normally a long, slender stick, often with a crook or a hook on one end; it is selected with care by its owner; shaped, smoothed and cut to best suit his own personal use. The shepherd used the staff to examine and count the sheep~ to inspect the wool & get to the skin to see that the skin is free from infection.
Symbolically, the staff is the Spirit of God~ As God deals with us individually
Psalm 121 ~ “I lift up my eyes to the hills~ where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He will not let your foot slip~ He who watches you will not slumber: Indeed He who watches over Israel will not sleep. The Lord watches over you~ the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord will keep you from harm~ He will watch over your life; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”