"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
If Psalm 23 is most quoted during funerals and dark seasons, I would have to say this verse is the most quoted of that Psalm. Yes, this is a good reminder that the LORD is with you in a tough season. But before we get to that season, it's an amazing idea to know Him as the next covenant name we're discussing in Psalm 23, YHWH Shammah (root word שָׁם)- the LORD is There.
The LORD is there is one of the most powerful covenant names to me personally. As a widow raising children, 2 grown and three still kids, I feel very much alone some days. But the moment I do or I begin to have those thoughts of "If only Mark were here to help me with this," the LORD reminds me HE IS THERE. I am never alone and that feeling is a lie from the depths of hell where it came from.
The LORD is very near, He is close to the broken hearted. His rod and staff, there are a comfort. A long time ago I heard someone talk about this rod as a sort of discipline tool for the sheep. That never sat well with and I pray it doesn't with you. As I prayed through this and studied more what I began to realize is this tool is not for the shepherd to "spank" the sheep, but rather to beat the crud out of any enemy that attempts to hurt the sheep. Think about it. Why would a shepherd strike his sheep? They would totally scatter! Shoot, sheep can't even go by a rushing stream, I shared that in our first blog of this series. They need a caring shepherd, one that is gentle, kind and has their best interest in mind. His rod and staff, these are weapons against anyone who dares to hurt one of the LORD's sheep.
The LORD is there. Do you know Him as one who is always there? Do you see Him as one who uses His staff as a source of protection and comfort to you? When we wander off it's like He takes the end of that hook and grabs onto us so we don't go too far. Yet if we do, He runs to find us, chases us down. Goodness and Mercy chase us down all the days of our lives. Spoiler alert, we talk about that when we get to verse 6.
The LORD is there. He is always there. If we feel as though He is not, guess who moved. "I the LORD do not change", as Malachi 3:6 states. God does not change, He does not move away from us and if we run or wander off, He will most certainly find us. The LORD is long-suffering and patient but don't make Him suffer long. Actual sheep get distracted by LORD only knows what, but humans can reason and keep their focus on their Shepherd. Wander no more, dear friend and fret not. The LORD your God is there.
If you have been in a place where you wonder where He is, can't He hear you calling Him?, perhaps it is more that you have moved away. Have you put things in front of you so you cannot hear our God's voice? Like a little child that has covered their ears to the voice of their parent, it is possible that you have closed your ears to the voice of your God?
Seek Him today as YHWH Shammah, pray this name and watch the spiritual cotton fall from your ears, and the scales plink to the ground from off your eyes.