The sun has set on the last official day of the “God of all Comfort” study. It’s never been this hard to put a book back on the shelf and dig into the next one. I’ve been comforted, bolstered, made glad through His people and, actually, I have been transported from the darkest moment of my life, thus far, to a place of peace and hope. I have been amazed at His faithfulness, though I should never be surprised at His ability to provide in all ways. I am determined never to doubt Him. He is the God of more.
When we wake up tomorrow it will be day one of the study of “The Crown.” I know my excitement is child-like and kind of over-the-top to any casual observer. I admit, the new study is like the most anticipated gift of Christmas morning to this child! It’s unwrapping and sharing is the most exciting thing about every summer! So, no apologies for being like a kid at Christmas. I just love the digging and you and the way God has seen fit to bless our digs—that much!
Somehow, when I look ahead a little, I am convinced that this study will be no less comforting than the last. For me, right now, that is a craved redundancy. I’m glad for passages like this one from chapter one. In fact, it is hard to move very far from the “Comfort” topic when we are in the Word. The Bible is a security blanket like no other until we are face to face with its Author!
Here’s another excerpt from the brand new study:
The staff. Sometimes the same Hebrew word is translated interchangeably, either rod or staff. In Psalm 23, of course, two different Hebrew words are used. The staff in this psalm is different from the rod of power or authority. It’s the stick of support for the shepherd. David was speaking here of the peace he derived because he leaned on God, Who has a comfort staff. He leaned on the strong support of God.
This support stick is also used to draw the sheep together and to draw the sheep to the shepherd. In addition, it rescues the fallen lamb. It is said that sometimes a shepherd will walk along beside a sheep and keep the crook of his staff on the side of the sheep, just to signal his nearness. We can recall the artists’ renderings of Jesus with a shepherd’s staff. The staff has become symbolic of the compassion and grace of the Lord. It’s what rescues and supports us.
I have been through some pretty dark passages in this lifetime; some paths that were treacherous and, frankly, it was the staff of God that pulled me from deep despair. It was the staff that blessed and comforted when there was no other comfort. Sometimes, when things are going well, when resources are at hand, when friends surround me, when health is on my side, and the schedule is manageable, I can almost catch myself choosing “self-support” over the staff of God. (Then I realize that everything about that “self-support staff” is really from God, as well. I just start to think I own my own staff, but I never really do!) Never choose money over its Maker. Never choose health over the Healer. Never choose power over the Prince. Never choose rest over the Restorer. Never choose earthly relationships over eternal redemption. Choose His staff!
Please keep inviting, especially during this first month. Moments in the Word are potentially the most valuable moments of our lives. You can help someone redeem time, while there IS still time. You may influence someone’s eternity. Several people did just that during the last dig. The thing is, when they began digging last September, they had no idea that the study would reach a lost soul for heaven. We serve the God of more than we can imagine. I keep saying that, but He just keeps being that God!