The Lord is my shepherd… —Psalm 23:1
David understands the depth of these words in a way few of us do. Because he was a shepherd, he knew the relationship of the shepherd to the sheep. He knew it was the shepherd's job to protect the defenseless sheep from predators, and guide them to food and water. He knew that unless the shepherd kept the sheep from roaming, they could easily get themselves lost.
In verse 4 of this psalm, David says, "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." The rod was the stick the shepherd used to whack the sheep on the flank, whereas the staff was a walking stick with a hooked end, which was used to pull the sheep back.
Sheep can be very stubborn— and so can we.
When a sheep is determined to go its own way, the shepherd will take his rod and whack it on the flanks to get it back into the flock.
Sometimes it is necessary for God to give us a whack. The Bible tells us, "Do not despise the chastening of the Lord… for whom the Lord loves He chastens" (Hebrews 12: 5-6).
If you are God's child, He won't let you get away with evil. Everyone else may get away with it, but you will get caught for sure, because the Lord chastens every son whom He receives. His rod will be there to keep you in line. And His staff is there to pull you out of danger.
Father, thank You for protecting us, guiding us, and providing for us. Thank You for loving us enough to correct us when we need it. In Jesus' name, amen.