The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me …
In every grueling trial, in every dark night, in every unexpected crisis, our good shepherd promises to be with us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.
All throughout the Bible, God tells His people to “fear not.” As sheep, we are naturally fearful, untrusting, and timid. But Jesus is greater than any problem. He has all authority in heaven and on earth. There is nothing that He cannot handle.
However, He wishes to take us to the high mountains. But this requires that we pass through and climb the valleys. Not only will He lead us through the valleys, but He will also walk with us there.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 KJV)
Consequently, most dilemmas, distresses, and disappointments are all crafted by the hand of God to bring us to higher ground.
Even in the dark valleys, God feeds His sheep. Interestingly, the valleys provide the richest feed and the best forage for the sheep. There is also water there. So the Lord meets us in the valley with food and drink. We are often unaware of this until we get past the crisis and we look back to see God’s hand of care and protection.
Having been through the dark valley ourselves, we may offer the Lord’s comfort to those who are walking in the dark valleys now.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor. 1:3–4)
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me …
The rod and the staff are the shepherd’s arsenal. The rod is used to defend the shepherd and his sheep from predators. It’s also used to discipline wayward sheep and bring them back to the flock.
The shepherd’s staff is his hallmark instrument. The staff is a long, slender stick with a hook at the end of it. The shepherd uses his staff to bring newborn lambs to their mothers. He also uses it to draw sheep closer to one another or to himself (for examination). Unlike the rod, the staff is used gently.
Both instruments express the care and concern that the shepherd has for his sheep. For this reason, the shepherd’s rod and staff bring comfort to the sheep.
In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ defends, disciplines, and draws us closer to Himself and to the other members of His body via His “rod” and His “staff.”