"God's Rod and Staff in Our Lives"
By Sara Whitten
Each morning I start with a hot cup of coffee, closed eyes, and a house that's asleep for at least 15 more minutes. I always begin with a simple prayer: "God, what do You want to show me today?"
few mornings ago, I saw a particularly strange image; it was a collar of a button-down shirt. I looked up verses about collars next. Every instance had to do with two things: 1) denoting anointing, office, or being set apart for a job. And 2) picking out and
doing away with what's deceitful, choking, or coming against God's words.
Looking up the definition of "collar," Merriam-Webster Dictionary calls it "a band placed about the neck of an animal" or "arrest, grab; to get
control of." Other really interesting definitions include:
• "To stop and detain in unwilling conversation."
• "A part of the harness of draft animals fitted over the shoulders and taking
strain when a load is drawn."
I tucked that word away in my heart, wrote it all down, then went about my day. The next morning, God had a new image, but with a strangely familiar
meaning: The image was a fishing rod. Here's where it got my attention...Biblically, the "rod" we first think of is that of the shepherd. I read more into how it is used, and found that the rod is the shepherd's defense and steering tool. When looking up the
words "fishing rod" and "shepherd's rod" and their full definitions, I learned the following:
• A fishing rod is a pole with a line and usually a reel attached for fishing.
• A shepherd's
rod is used defensively (by lobbing it at predators to scare them away).
• A shepherd's rod is used to toss near sheep that are splintering from herd movement without hurting them.
Strong's, "rhabdouchos" (one of the words for rod) means "holding the rod of office" or "policeman."
That night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. I noticed the windows were faintly flashing
blue and white. As I peeked outside, I saw that it was the literal police who had pulled over a driver and were arresting him. I started thinking of that biblical definition of rod (rhabdouchos) that literally meant "policeman."
It all came together, however, on the third day as I checked my email. An email reappeared in my inbox that was from mid-April and had been deleted. I keep my email really organized and delete things daily. Each
time a message is deleted, a notification will pop up saying, "Warning! You are about to delete this email. Once deleted, it cannot be retrieved." So you can imagine my shock when one "came back" from being permanently deleted – over a month later!
As I opened and re-read it, I realized it was a word about God's rod – specifically citing the ROD and STAFF in Psalm 23. I immediately pictured the staff taking a sheep gently around the neck and pulling it in the right direction.
I added "staff" to my journal and set to searching out its meanings. Here is what I found:
Staff: "a long stick carried in the hand for support in walking." Archaically, "staff" meant "a crosspiece in a ladder or chair."
It is also defined as "a rod carried as a symbol of office or authority. The horizontal lines with their spaces on which music is written. The personnel who assist a director in carrying out an assigned task."
hit me...the way a staff fits perfectly around the neck of a sheep is almost like a COLLAR. It all came full circle...a perfect picture of what the Lord is doing now, both corporately and individually:
• God is bringing back to UNITY those sheep that have gone off in a different direction. Just like a shepherd throws his rod to redirect veering sheep in a way that hurts no one in the flock, redirection will send prodigals home.
• There is a restoration of law and order coming in such a way that God is "policing" perversions of justice or things that have come in the way of His words. There's a special anointing on those stepping up into positions in many sectors of
the marketplace and government that will enable them to "hold the line" for the Lord.
• God is working through the marketplace, bringing "staffs" of people together to better accomplish assignments for Him.
Creative worship – especially music – is going to be bring breakthrough and revival.
• There is an emphasis on cooperating with and coming beside one another in unity, in order to reduce strain and bear one another's
• Just like fishing with a rod, this is not about a mass production (like commercial fishing with nets); it is not a quick process. It's about stopping
for the "one." Just like Jesus had divine appointments for a specific person out of masses of people, there is a "going after the one" that is important right now.
• You may be called strategically to new "offices"
or jobs that are part of a greater picture for the Lord. These will be the next step on the ladder of where God is taking you.
• Gentle redirections are happening. God is gently redirecting and positioning people
according to His purposes. You may find yourself "pulled" from where you were heading, but don't take it as a setback! Take it as a "steering" from the Lord, setting you on a new course. Be flexible.
• God is drawing
attention to the places where the enemy has kept you "collared" in unnecessary conversations and things that you've given your mental energy to; unnecessary battles being fought, and areas where you've gained ground but are now struggling with again. God is
reminding you of His words which free you from these things. He's inviting you to police those thoughts and breeched boundaries and enforce His order again.
• There's a "placing on Jesus' shoulders" the things that
we have strained in vain to shoulder ourselves.
• He's also asking you to engage in conversation with Him – and not in a hurried way, but in a "Martha posture" of lingering; like waiting on a fish with a fishing
pole. You may be wanting to run or rush, but slowing down and lingering will be valuable in the long-sustained work the Lord is doing in and through you. To PRODUCE MORE you'll have to REDUCE MORE of the mental and "scheduling" clutter.
A Time of Psalm 23
With new eyes, I see Psalm 23 over this time, and a time of refreshment, emergence and restoration:
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes
me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake. 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.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord forever."
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By Sara Whitten
Arrows of Zion
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321