Scripture & Thought

Hebrews 12:6 – “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.”

Have you ever wondered what the phrase “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” means? Let’s remember what David said a few verses earlier: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 NKJV).

David, a shepherd himself, would have carried two very critical tools: A rod and a staff. A staff was basically a long instrument with a crook on the end to pull a wayward sheep back into line. But then there was the rod, which is self-explanatory.

The shepherd would use the rod to defend his sheep against predators. But he might also have to use it to get a wayward sheep’s attention. One quick whack and the sheep paid attention.

We’re just like those sheep. The Lord is our Shepherd, and sometimes He tells us not to do something. But we do it anyway. So He says, “Don’t do that.” And we keep doing it. Then God essentially says, “Don’t make me use this.” Yet we continue to disobey.

Whack! Now the Lord has our attention. It’s hard for us to believe that God would allow a hardship in our lives because He loves us. It seems that He would want to protect His children from all difficulties.

But remember, the Lord wants us to mature in our faith. And one of the marks of God’s love for us is discipline, because the Bible says that God disciplines the one that He loves (see Hebrews 12:6).

Just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep, the Lord takes care of us. And when God disciplines us, it’s an indication that we are His children.

That discipline might be something that seems like the worst-case scenario at the time. But ultimately, it can be the very thing that actually brings us to our senses.

We must remember, when God disciplines us, it’s an indication that we’re His children.

Prayer: Dear God, I’m so thankful that I’m your child! I’m so grateful for the times you correct, and discipline me, even though it doesn’t feel good at the time. I know I can trust you and your wisdom, to direct me in the way that I should go, and the things that I should do. Help me to always be alert to your voice within me, so I won’t get into trouble, going off on my own tangents, or doing what I want instead of what You want. Now, help us all to follow you more closely, and listen for your voice in the midst of all the clamor of voices in the world today. Amen.