May 5, 2017
Back to our discussion on the rod
and the staff, here is the complete statement David makes as he describes our
walk in the Paths of Righteousness through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will fear no evil: for Thou Art With Me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort
me. (Psalm 23:4)
staff has traditionally been representative of guidance, but both Hebrew and
Greek texts apply the use of the staff to represent support of every kind. Throughout Scripture, we see the use of the
staff mentioned 42 times. We see bread
represented as “the staff of life.”
Bread, therefore, is the sustainer — that which supports life.
Genesis 38, we have the story of Judah and Tamar. Without getting into all the specifics of
that story, in a secret liaison in which Judah is unaware of Tamar’s identity
(she is actually his daughter-in-law), Tamar becomes pregnant with twins. She is accused of playing the whore and brought
before Judah for judgment.
on the other hand, has given up his signet ring (the symbol of his authority),
his bracelets (the symbol of his wealth) and his staff in order to spend the
evening with Tamar. His staff is more
than just his support in a natural sense, it is his legal support, and it is
representative of the guidance of the Lord in his life.
story is one that I was given the opportunity to witness firsthand during my
journeys back and forth through time in 1996 as directed by the Lord, and
accompanied by an angel of the Lord.
Tamar is brought before Judah for his judgment (by law, she could have been
stoned to death had she actually been plying herself and her body for personal
gain), Judah is incensed that his daughter-in-law is pregnant, her most recent
husband having been dead for some years.
He is about to pronounce sentence on Tamar when she presents him with
his signet ring, his bracelets and his staff.
has no legal support to pronounce sentence upon Tamar, and realizes that he has
failed her in his role as her father-in-law.
When Judah’s first two sons had married Tamar in succession and each of
them died under the judgment of God because of their mistreatment of Tamar and
their in-your-face rebellion against God, Judah had promised his third son to
Tamar when he became of age, but feared that the same fate would befall him.
at the appointed time, Judah married his third son off to someone else, leaving
Tamar a grieving widow. There is not
time or space to get into the entire story in this discussion, but I have
written and documented the entire event as a first-hand witness in a book to be
published when the Lord so orchestrates.
It is a phenomenal story of the grace and love of the Lord in the most
this story illustrates, as far the staff is concerned, is its representation
metaphorically for natural support, legal support, and the future guidance of
the Lord for events to come in the not-too-distant future.
I ought to save this for later, but I can’t resist showing you how this all
gives birth to two sons, Pharez and Zarah.
Pharez’ great grandson, Amminidab, is one of the two spies that Joseph
sends into Jericho. He is the rescuer of
Rahab, and marries her in due time.
Rahab becomes great-grandmother to Boaz, who marries Ruth, and becomes
the grandfather of Jesse, the father of David, King of Israel, and progenitor
of both Joseph and Mary through different strands of the family.
just can’t make this stuff up! Judah’s
staff was integral to all of this unfolding.
Now, perhaps, you can see why David could see the staff as something
comforting to him as he followed the Lord in the Paths of Righteousness. It was integral to his very existence, and it
was integral to his life as a shepherd.
will also remember that the instruction of the Lord to Israel on Passover night
went like this:
12:11: And thus shall ye eat
it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in
your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover.
was instructed to take the staff with them as they departed Egypt because they
were going to need it for both support (when they wearied in the long walk) and
for the guidance of the Lord that would go before them as they departed the
let’s take a look at the staff from another perspective.
Archer was my grandfather’s cousin, but we all knew him as “Uncle Roy.” Uncle Roy was, in every sense of the word, a
shepherd. (We’ve already made the
distinction between a sheep rancher or sheep-herder and a shepherd.) In the late 1950’s, my brother and I went with
Dad to visit his spread in North Dakota.
Roy had an old 32-volt wind generator that he had ceased to use, (with an
adaptor, it would work for 120 volts) and when he learned that we were living
in the arctic without electricity, he offered the generator to Dad. We had to dismantle the tower and generator,
of course, and haul it up the Alaska Highway, but that’s another story.
I’ve said, Uncle Roy was a shepherd. He
led his sheep to pasture. He didn’t have
a sheep dog to chase them. The sheep
followed him wherever he went, and when he stopped or sat down, they began to
feed in the green pastures.
was this one sheep that went with him everywhere he went. In fact, the sheep walked so close to him
that it rubbed up against his leg. When
he would come in from the fields, Uncle Roy would head into his back porch. I laughed one day when the sheep walked into
the porch with him.
Roy?” I asked, “what’s with this sheep, anyway?
It won’t leave your side, and it goes with you everywhere. It even wants to follow you into the house
like a pet.”
laughed and said, “I have a story to tell you about this sheep.”
ago,” he said, “when this sheep was a little lamb, he was always wandering off
from the flock and getting himself into trouble. Every so often, I had to retrieve him from
places where he was stuck and couldn’t get out.”
day, when I wasn’t paying close attention, he got himself caught in a bush —
and it was a good thing! Had the bush
not caught him and stopped him, he would have fallen over a ledge and likely
killed himself. I had taken a special
liking to this lamb and didn’t want him to get killed by his wanderings away
from the safety of the flock, so when the lamb was retrieved from the bush, I
took my staff and laid it across his front legs.
struck his legs just hard enough to crack them so that he could no longer
walk. From that moment, I carried him
until his legs healed and he could walk again on his own. When he began walking on his own, he wouldn’t
leave my side. By my carrying him, he
learned that I loved him. He felt my
love and heard my heartbeat as I carried him.
that time until now, he has always walked by my side. When we walk together to the pastures, the
other sheep follow, and he never strays from my side. He sets the example for all the other sheep.”
was a living example of the staff for me, and it was a living example of how
David led his sheep. I clearly saw the
picture of “For Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” in living
color. Roy Archer’s example was a
demonstration of the staff of leading, the staff of support, and the staff of
correction. It could not have been
clearer, and that picture has stayed with me for my whole life.
is another aspect of the staff that I want to show you. We’ve already mentioned the staff as being a
symbol of leading and guidance, but within that framework, the staff is also a
picture of the prophetic.
don’t have time to get into the whole story here, but consider Gideon’s
experiences and what he was going through.
Israel is under bondage from the Midianites. Gideon has been crying out to the Lord for
deliverance and asking God why He doesn’t send a deliverer to Israel. So the Lord sends an angel who goes and sits
under a tree next to the winepress where Gideon was threshing wheat. The winepress, of course, was not a normal
place to thresh wheat but it was a concealed place from the Midianites.
angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and announces to him, “The Lord is with
you, you mighty man of valor.”
Right! Gideon couldn’t have felt
less like a mighty man.
again complains to the Lord saying, “If the Lord is with us, why then has all
of these things happened to us? Where’s
all the miracles that took place with Moses and Joshua? Didn’t the Lord deliver us from Egypt? How come He has delivered us into the hand of
the angel of the Lord says to him again, “Go in this your might, and you will
save Israel out of the hand of the Midianites; haven’t I sent you to do this?”
considers himself in much the same way that Moses did when the Lord first
called him to deliver Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt. “Who am I that I should be the one to do
this? We are a poor family, and I’m the
least in my father’s house.” And again
the angel of the Lord responds, “Surely, I will be with you, and you will smite
the Midianites as one man.”
is really struggling now with all of this and says, “If I have found grace in
your sight, then show me a sign that you’ve talked with me (and this is all
real)! Stay here. Don’t leave until I come back and bring a
present unto you.”
Gideon goes and roasts a lamb, makes some broth and bakes some cakes. (Wonder how long all of this took?) Next, he brings it out to where the angel of
the Lord is sitting under the oak tree and presented his gift. Now the angel instructs him to do something
this rock? Take the meat and the cakes
and set them on this rock. Pour the
broth out over it.” And Gideon obeys.
we are going to see the prophetic implications of the Staff unfold in front of
Gideon. Gideon has been told that he is
going to be Israel’s deliverer. The odds
against his being chosen are astronomical.
But the Lord is going to demonstrate the supernatural. He is going to show Gideon in advance just
what kind of empowerment he will have to defeat the Midianites and deliver
Israel out of their hands.
the angel of the Lord takes the Staff and touches the soaked me and bread cakes
on the rock. Instantly, fire comes out
of the rock, consuming the meat and bread cakes. One can only imagine the look on Gideon’s
face. His instant reaction is, “Oh my
God! I’ve just seen an angel of the
Lord, face to face!”
the Lord speaks to Gideon the same words many of us have heard at times in our
lives, “Peace be unto you! Fear
not! You’re not going to die.”
you seeing, now, how the Staff was used as a prophetic symbol of that which was
to come? Think back to David’s
experience as he has had the Rod and the Staff with him in the Valley of the
Shadow of Death. Where did David’s
experience with the Lord begin?
“The Lord is MY Shepherd.”
where is this path of the Lord leading David?
“And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!”
I to continue this picture of the Staff today (and I still have some
applications and illustrations we need to consider), this would become a very,
very long Coffee Break. That said, let’s
pause here and we’ll finish this next week.
I remind those of you
in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the
first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035.
The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have
difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original
call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in
case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our
Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about
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is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these
gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: Admin@RiverWorshipCenter.org
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