Episode 039 – Psalm 23 Pt 6: Rod and Staff (and Sling)

Key Passage(s): Psalm 23:4

The rod and the staff, they comfort David. And likely the sling too! These are what the shepherd carries for various situations. Learning about these alone is utterly fascinating, especially when you find out how David uses them against lions, bears, and Goliath (which we discuss). But how these translate into what God does for us in in the midst of our deep valleys is where the power lies. And once we understand that, we’ll find comfort, courage, and hope just like David did.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • When you find yourself in difficult times, where do you turn for comfort?
  • It was mentioned that the one of the reasons a shepherd carries a crook is to help their sheep get back on the path. What came to your mind as you heard this? Have you experienced this in your life with God?
  • In what area is God gently guiding you back to the path He’s set before you?
  • What are the differences between safety and being protected from evil? Have you ever considered this before? Does this change anything in your life or relationship with God?
  • How does knowing that evil, pain, and brokenness have been defeated by Jesus change how you view difficult times?
  • How can you be intentional this week in seeking your comfort in God, our great shepherd who can be trusted?

For Further Study

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  1. William Black October 30, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Heard from Hebraic teacher/Rabbi that rod and staff are the two handles used when openinng TORAH.
    If so then, the deeper level of Davids comfort, no Jesus, no 3rd person HS, was his faith in the blessings that came from the TORAH Covenant, which was all he had, and as King had to copy 2 copies by his hand!
    At 80 and believer at 16, wish we had this hidden info back then and sad that church i still hiding and ignoring it!
    Shalom and blessings on yours Brad–keep on doing this,please!

    • Brad Gray October 31, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Will definitely keep it up, Bill. I will say that I think sometimes people ascribe meaning that I don’t think is in the Text – such as the rod and staff are the two handles. I love the Rabbis, but I think we need to be careful not to make the Text say more than it intended to.

  2. Sue Christian October 31, 2018 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    What a fun teaching. My heart feels such joy knowing that Yahweh is with me and has His rod and staff ready. I know that He will lead me to Him with His staff as I progress through this life as I seem to get off course with my sinful nature!
    I so look forward to your teachings but I have to say Psalm 23 in my Bible has way to many notes now. It makes me smile to see all my writing from your teachings squeezed in that page.
    Thank you

  3. David Kelsey November 3, 2018 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    I think Gods shepherds rod is longer than 5 feet long, it has pulled me back when I have drifted way more than 5 feet from the path!
    I read somewhere recently of a Roman archaeological site, I think in the Uk where a town was attacked by Romans who only used slings and the results were devastating as the sling stones came from every direction. How much of scripture have we diminished because we misinterpret the words.

    • Brad Gray November 12, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Wonderful comments here, David. Thank you for sharing them.

  4. Alvaro Ochoa November 5, 2018 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Brad! It was exciting to see the video on the 3 big announcements. Congratulations on the tax exemption status. The website keeps getting better. And I’d love to go on one of your study trips one day.

    Thank you again on another great teaching. Your teaching are deep and fun, I enjoy them a lot! It was great to hear David’s resume. It is amazing how restoring the context of the passages allows us to better connect with God’s Word. I also had the miss-understanding of the sling. Thank you for pausing there, for the visuals you use, and for making connections to other parts of the Scripture and other teachings (like The Restoration of All Things).
    Best regards!

    • Brad Gray November 12, 2018 at 10:42 am - Reply

      I really appreciate this, Alvaro, and I bless God you’re finding the teachings so helpful!

  5. Randy Schaap November 6, 2018 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Do you see any correlation in the fact that during the crucifixion scourging, Christ, the shepherd was beaten with a tool used by a shepherd? That was my initial thought when you mentioned that the rod was not used on the sheep

    • Brad Gray November 12, 2018 at 10:39 am - Reply

      That’s a great observation, Randy. I’ll address it in the last teaching. Thanks!

  6. Doug November 8, 2018 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    You use fascinating visuals & explanations for the staff, rod & sling!

    They spurred me to find videos online that provide a sense of how contemporary shepherds and sportsman use the staff and sling skillfully.

    To understand the full context of tool use by 11th-century-B.C. shepherds, I wonder if there were additional implements they used that could have ‘comforted’ the sheep? (You include the sling with the road & staff in the video, were there any other implements they carried?)

    If so, what did they look like? How & when were they used?


  7. Jim Bowden November 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the new perspective on the rod and staff. I had no idea that the rod was such a deadly weapon. This teaching makes the efforts of David in killing lions and bears much more believable. I had always wondered how he was able. And your theory about using the sling first makes good sense because it would allow the shepherd to stun the animal first with a deadly blow at distance (potentially incredible distance, which I didn’t know either, and with stones much bigger than I had previously thought), then “finish” it off with the rod up close. Wow! Evidently shepherds had to be “tough dudes!” All this new knowledge of these implements makes the passage “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” more impacting and meaningful. Thanks, Brad, for this teaching.

  8. Tru Jackson November 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply


  9. Sandy October 30, 2021 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Thanks for this teaching❣️

  10. Lissy De Lanza January 13, 2023 at 8:30 am - Reply

    The word has such deep meaning and this is why studying the details is so important. I’m not so impressed by the rod or staff or the sling for that matter, but what deeply touches my heart is the Shepherd and His amazing love for us!! This teaching reveals in a practical and personal way the love of the Father. Thank you so much and blessings upon blessings for you and yours.

    • Brad Nelson January 13, 2023 at 11:34 am - Reply

      You are most welcome! Thanks for sharing how it moved you.

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