THE SHEPHERD’S STAFF IS A MULTI TOOL

Chris Reid
4 min readMay 26, 2023

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DAILY WORD

5/26/23

16. “Now stand here and see the great thing the LORD is about to do.

17. You know that it does not rain at this time of the year during the wheat harvest. I will ask the LORD to send thunder and rain today. Then you will realize how wicked you have been in asking the LORD for a king!”

18. So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day. And all the people were terrified of the LORD and of Samuel.

19. “Pray to the LORD your God for us, or we will die!” they all said to Samuel. “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.”

1 Samuel 12: 16–19 NLT

As we considered Yesterday’s Passage, I asked, “What is the point?” regarding God being angry over the Israelite’s rejection in asking for a King instead of God as their Ruler, but still granting them their ill-conceived request anyway. For Yesterday’s Lesson, I presented a couple of responses that suited my point in answer to that query.

But if you really want to know the point of God’s attitude and subsequent reaction to the Israelite’s plea, we find it in Today’s Passage without having to guess or wonder at His intent. He says it plainly through Samuel’s Prophetic Revelation, and if you thought I was projecting or mistaken in my rendering of God’s position, you’d discover I may not have gone far enough.

Because as we look closely at what God does next in THE STORY OF SAMUEL, we are quickly reminded that we serve a God who is not to be trifled with. The Israelites have repeatedly trampled on God’s toes, testing His Patience and Longsuffering by rebelling at nearly every turn as He kept them through the trials of nation-building.

You would think, after so many offenses, they would have developed a deeper understanding of God’s Mind and the Law He gave Moses in the wilderness. But despite all of their opportunities to Learn their Lesson, the Israelites have shown themselves to be wandering sheep.

Why does a shepherd carry a staff? It’s not to look iconic. If you know anything about being a shepherd, sometimes itinerant lambs require more extreme shepherding methods.

The shepherd’s staff is a multi-tool. It can be both a weapon and a standard. It helps separate and guide the sheep, warding off predators from a safe distance. But what happens when a lamb wanders off, endangering itself, the shepherd, and the rest of the flock?

That staff becomes an implement of discipline. The shepherd’s job is not just standing around counting sheep. It is an active endeavor requiring both courage and, at times, brutality. Sometimes a Good Shepherd has to break a repeat wanderer’s leg to keep them from danger, forcing them to carry the little rebel to the next adequate grazing spot.

The Israelites are that recalcitrant lamb. God is their Good Shepherd, but they are so prone to wander away from His Protection that sometimes He has to go beyond the pale to keep them under His watchful eye. Because to stray away from The Shepherd is to court death.

There are hungry predators out there seeking an easy meal, and what better lunch than a well-fed, pampered, lone little sheep? Do you not understand that we are lip-smacking morsels of spirit and succulent souls that the enemy would love to snap up?

We are weak, defenseless sheep when it comes to the Roaring Lions of Temptation and Lust that lure us away from safety and into the dangers of the worldly wilderness. We require Protection even from our own tendencies to wander and poke our noses into what, for any observant shepherd, is a glaring trap!

The Israelites have heard Samuel tell them their request for a King was ticking God off this entire time, but it wasn’t until God displayed his anger in blatant terms that they truly got the point. They required a sign from the heavens before they understood just how badly they had messed up.

Thank God He’s Patient because if these are the actions of His “Chosen People,” Patience is a trait He’ll have to exercise frequently! It took a tempest in a time of drought to get the Israelite’s attention, but it seems that, at last, they finally got the point.

Today’s Lesson is that it might take a while for us to get the Point God is obviously trying to Teach us. Only His Patient, Gentle, Loving Hand of Guidance allows us to learn the Lessons we must learn to walk the Trail He’s blazed for us. And sometimes, when we refuse to listen, that Hand will hold His Staff that He might have to use to break us a bit.

But the Truest Application of His Love is Discipline. And as we look at God’s Response to the Israelite’s fearful realization of their mistake in Tomorrow’s Passage, we begin to see just what kind of God we serve. His Response is as heartening as it is sobering. Even in His Wrath, God will never leave us alone. He always offers us a way of escape! We just have to be willing to meet Him at the point of His Mercy. And that position requires something decisive from us, Obedience!

Have A Fantastic Friday, And Never Forget It Requires Our Obedience To Garner God’s Protection!

#dailyword

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Chris Reid

A lifelong poet and lyricist, and aspiring novelist, who’s taken to heart the old adage, “Only what you do for Christ shall last.”