VIEWPOINTS FOR SUNDAY, 6TH SEPTEMBER 2015

THEME FOR THE MONTH: The Shepherd
TODAY’S TOPIC: His Rod and His Staff
KEY TEXT: Ps. 23:1-5
KEY VERSE: Ps. 23:1
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”

INTRODUCTION
Two very important things did we consider last week. One, God knows about the storm. He fully understands what it is that we are passing through. He sees it many miles ahead, and may not say anything about it. Two, we understood that God could be the One leading us into the storms. Now, this is very funny…to think that He who should guard us is He who takes us to that danger. This, again, is the place of discipleship.

Today, we see that the storms have some importance. For one, discipleship and growth does not take place outside storms. When the Shepherd leads us to the storms, He knows that it is a mission to grow us. Moreover, He stays with us throughout the storms. The psalmist wrote, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”

Through the valley of the shadow of death, there are two properties of the shepherd evident: His Rod and His Staff. These two properties we shall consider today.

1. HIS ROD
Now, this part is frightening. The rod here could mean a stick, a cane, a sceptre used for ruling. Ruling here also includes the responsibility of correcting the sheep. And when we say “correct”, we are looking at every way possible, including punishments. One would hardly see a shepherd without a rod. The rod is for the herd. Sometimes, the rod strikes the herd. Yes, this is that point in your walk with God when you are smitten. The same rod that points the way is the rod that strikes. How many times have we wondered at God: He leads us some minutes back (or some days back) and now He lashes us?

Hard times are painful. They take away our comfort, our pleasure and, sometimes, our peace. When God intends to train His people, He does just those—He removes the satisfaction we derive from the physical. The rod just whips as God instructs it to. It does not ask you whether you are wrong. That is why disciples do not ask the question, “why me?”
(Prov. 29:15; Prov. 22:15; Prov. 23:13-14; Heb. 12:5-11)

2. HIS STAFF
Thus says a proverb: when an elder beats a child with the right hand, he draws him closer with the left. The Hebrew word for staff here is “mish‛ênâh”. It means “support”. One can view it as sustenance. The picture that comes to mind is a “walking stick”. He who uses the walking stick is afflicted in some kind of way. The walking stick is something one leans on. Our Shepherd is NOT wicked. He always provides support in our times of pain. In the Garden of Eden, God was punishing Adam and Eve his wife, but He (God) made clothing for them to cover their nakedness. During our times of pain and affliction, He offers us something to lean on—His shoulder. We can cry to Him when it seems someone is not there to listen to us. Crying—pouring out your heart—to God is definitely allowed here. This is because at those times when it seems to you that The Shepherd is far away, that is when He is right beside you.
(2Cor. 12:7-10; Isaiah 40:29-31; 1Cor. 10:13;

FURTHER STUDY:
Prov. 24:10; Rom. 5:3-5; 2Cor. 6:4-6; James 1:2-4; Matt. 10:19-20

theTASK:
Study Heb. 12:5-11.

PRAYERS:
1. Thank God for giving us His word.
2. Ask God to give you that rugged determination which will keep you moving.
3. Pray for divine support to be able to go through our own storms.
4. Pray that God’s peace rests upon all Codites who are either home or away from home.
5. Commit the family of Oluchi (MTN) before God. Ask that God alone will take them through this hard time of their lives. Demand for divine protection and provision on their behalf.
6. Secure the month of September in God’s hands.
7. Receive grace to be greater in you walk with God this month.

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