Rod and Staff, Table Prepared, Head Anointed, Dwelling with God
Psalm 23 – Part 3
by Rita Bennett, D.Litt.

R I T A ' S    R E F L E C T I O N S

​YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME (Psalm 4:4b). How does the rod and the staff comfort the sheep? The rod was a bar of wood or metal. It was carried by the Shepherd not to hit the sheep but was used to beat off any wolves that might try to destroy his sheep. I think the rod or club was attached to his belt, since the Shepherd also carried his staff--probably in his right hand for walking. This is what I learned about it.

“Shepherd” comes from the Hebrew letter pronounced resh. To help you visualize this letter, it looks like a shepherd’s crook or curved staff. I encourage you to look up the 22 Hebrew letters found in a New King James Bible (NKJV) in the 119th Psalm. The letters are broken up into 22 Octets. The R or Resh begins the 20th Octet section.  

In the historical Church, bishops and archbishops during special services process into a church with staff in hand showing they are shepherds under God. The Lord Jesus is the Head (Rosh) Shepherd of the flock. An individual shepherd is transliterated ro’eh and ro’eem is more than one. Jesus is the Rosh Ro’eh.

The staff serves another important purpose. If a sheep gets caught in the rocks of a mountainous path, the Shepherd can reach down with the crook of his staff, fitting it around the animal’s neck, to pull the sheep to safety. Can you think of a time when the Lord has rescued you? Tell someone about it, or journal it.  

YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES; YOU ANOINT MY HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP RUNS OVER (Psalm 23:5). The example that comes to me here is about Jesus at The Last (or Lord’s) Supper.  Then it is also “The Jewish Passover,” and most Christians today call it Holy Communion or The Eucharist

This was the last time the disciples would be with their Leader, Jesus Christ, before His crucifixion. The Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal and the one at which one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, would leave early to go to the religious leaders of that Day to make a deal on how his betrayal would work. 

Yet Jesus washed His disciples feet and anointed them with oil, fed them supper, and taught them. Jesus’ cup was running over with the oil of love for His brother’s in the faith who had traveled together with Him for about three years. 

If Jesus could overcome that betrayal at a meal, then you can overcome a family meal where arguments can sometimes get started. In the memories of the past or present betrayals, God was with you in His omnipresence although you may not have known it. In prayer you can “Practice Jesus’ Presence” and be healed from those hurts. Read Brother Lawrence’s book Practicing the Presence of Jesus to help you. 

SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE; AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER (Psalm 23:6). God promises a wonderful life here on earth with the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth, opening to us God’s Word. And at the end of our time on earth, Jesus will take us home to be with Him and the family of God, forever! Thank God for this and for Psalm 23!  I recommend that you commit this Psalm to memory, and use it as a prayer for others—personalizing it.  

©2016 by Rita Bennett, CRA Inc.,


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