God’s Rod and Staff Comfort, Not Condemn

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15 NIV)

God is a God of compassion. Psalm 86:15 says, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (NIV). The Bible also says, “God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3b NCV).

Some of you may have grown up with a father who was full of judgment and distanced himself from you. But that’s not who God is. God isn’t that father. God is the Father who is full of mercy. God is the Father who is full of comfort. That is the kind of relationship he offers to you.

If you’re going to have hope, you’ve got to see who God really is. You’ve got to see that he doesn’t come into your life to make you feel judged but to let you know he really cares.

What’s God really like? God is all about being a part of your everyday life. God is about being close to you. God is about having a relationship with you. The Bible says in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV).

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’s 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 comfort you. 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.

Talk It Over

  • Talk about a time in your life when God provided you comfort by giving you direction and guidance.
  • How can you also extend compassion and comfort when you offer discipline and direction to your child or someone in your life?
  • What makes you resistant to God’s comfort and mercy?
...Read More.
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