The Shield During Adversity. Devotions from the Psalms (23:4)


Protection at train stations

"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, NIV2)

David sure knew what he was talking about. After all, hadnít he been pursued by Saul and later by his own son, Absalom? They had his destruction in mind, but their plans were foiled. God had indeed miraculously protected David from any harm.

On September 23, somewhere in the country of South Africa, a 15 year-old found herself in a very distressing moment. How would we have reacted if three robbers show up while we are dining in a nice restaurant and for unknown reasons, began firing indiscriminately?

That 15 year-old, although completely terrified, was left unharmed, thanks to her dad who immediately came to her rescue. He dragged her on the floor, and then he shielded her from those flying menaces with his own body.

Although she left the scene unharmed, her dad was shot, and he died shortly afterwards. He was literally his daughterís hero. Even though his daughter had walked through the darkest valley possible, her dad had been with her and he had shielded her from any bodily harm.

When facing adversity, may we remember this powerful act of heroism, as we too are assured that when walking through any menacing valley, God, too, is with us. We have nothing to fear. Why worry when our Heavenly Father is on our side!

Interestingly David mentions that Godís rod and staff comforts him. In our day and age we may have forgotten about these two utensils. Now we rely more on the GPS and Facebook (Especially those who call themselves the younger species of humankind). However they were quite meaningful to David, the shepherd boy.

The rod was used for punishment, to keep the sheep in line. "I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands." (2 Samuel 7:14, NIV2) However, we also need to remind ourselves that "My love will never be taken away from him . . ." (2 Samuel 7:15, NIV2) When God corrects us, it is to keep us on the right track and avoid the pitfalls of temptation. No wonder that the rod comforted David, for it was, after all, his Heavenly Dad protecting him from himself. We sure can be our own worst enemies at times!

The staff, on the other hand, is a sign of authority (See Gen 49:10) and no one has greater authority that God Himself! And He is the One who assures us that He is with us, with you, with me! We truly have nothing to fear. He is willing to take the bullet for us, just as He did on Golgotha.

Rob Chaffart

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