Using the right tools ultimately leads to the best conclusion whether you are repairing an item, building something, or baking. The right tools for the job are everything. In fact, when you do not have the right tools, the project can become cumbersome, overwhelming, and frustrating. Something that may have taken a few hours can end up taking most of the day.
The shepherd in Psalm 23 has two tools he utilizes that not only serves the purpose, but both could also be considered multipurpose. “…thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4b) Think Leatherman … ok, maybe not. But if you google multipurpose tools, the Leatherman holds the top spot and has for years. David tells us that the shepherd’s tools are a rod and a staff. With these two tools, the shepherd can defend and protect his sheep. They not only do that, but they are also useful in many other ways.
The rod was used to protect, but also to count, discipline, and destroy. Our Shepherd knows everything about us. Luke 12:7 reminds us “But even the very hairs of your head are numbered.” He cares for us, He sees us, and He counts us as His own. Also, because of His love for us, He disciplines each of us. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6) Just as a parent disciplines a child for their ultimate good, God does the same for His sheep (those who follow Him). The discipline may not seem good at the moment, but we can trust God’s heart towards us, and know it is for our good. We can trust He is working for us, not against us. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) The rod is also used for destruction. Shepherds could kill animals that were attacking the sheep to protect them. Our Shepherd will ultimately destroy evil and He will win!
The other tool the shepherd used was the staff. It was used for care and guidance. Instead of allowing a sheep to wander off from the herd, the shepherd would gently guide the sheep back with the crook of the staff. He did this out of care for the sheep and to keep them on the right path. Our shepherd does that for us as well, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)
God not only uses the right tools; He is also able to utilize them in different circumstances for our ultimate good. Likewise, He can use events in our lives for different purposes. Something that was meant to harm, can be turned for your good. Just like Joseph’s story in Genesis 50. In fact, Joseph tells his brothers in verse 20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” How can He do this? Because He is a multipurpose God, using multipurpose tools for His ultimate goal - to have us look and act more like Him so others will be drawn to Him. Having the right tools in life is everything. Our Good Shepherd knows how to yield each tool for our advantage. Trust His heart and follow His lead.
THIS WEEK: Meditate on what it means to be a shepherd. Allow God to speak to you regarding those around you who may need love, grace, and love in hard places. You are where you are for a purpose … allow God to show you that meaning.