Psalms 23:4 ——– Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Some of you who struggle with seeing God as condemning are going, “See right there! He is a condemning God. He’s got a rod and a staff, and He is out to get me. There’s the proof.”
Let me tell you what this is about. This verse is comforting, not condemning. God’s rod and staff are not out to get you or punish you. They are to comfort us. How?
Picture a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd uses a rod to discipline the sheep and a staff to direct the sheep. If a sheep is headed off of a cliff, the shepherd uses the rod and staff to make sure it doesn’t. Wouldn’t you agree that’s a good thing?
When you’re heading off a cliff, God will bring discipline and direction into your life to keep you from falling off that cliff. It’s not condemning; it’s comforting, because somebody loves you enough to tell you when you’re headed the wrong direction.
That is the kind of God who loves us. That is the kind of God who comforts us. That is the kind of God who gives us hope!
Matthew 5:45 ——– that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Through the illustration in the above scripture, of the sun rising and the rain falling on both the good and the evil, Jesus shows God’s undiscriminating love to all people. As His disciples we must reflect His character and exhibit this same undiscriminating love for both friends and enemies.
Jesus is teaching us that we must live by a higher standard than what the world expects—a standard that is impossible for us to attain by our own efforts. It’s only through the power of God’s Spirit that we can truly love and pray for those who intend to do us harm.
As sons of our Father we are to be perfect, even as God is perfect. This is utterly impossible for us to achieve. So how can Jesus demand the impossible?
Mathew 19:26 ——- But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
That which God demands, only He can accomplish, including the demand to love our enemies. What is impossible for man becomes possible for those who give their lives to Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts.
God’s Word and spirit comforts us. Every dark valley in our life has a purpose. And God’s Word reveals that purpose to us.
“One way to get comfort is to plead the promise of God in prayer, show Him His handwriting; God is tender of His Word.”