When I lived in Clarksburg WV, I participated in a fundraiser in which I walked 27 miles in 12 hours. To assist me, a member of the Meadowbrook Church of Christ made a customized maple walking stick. He built it from scratch, peeling off the bark, sawing away knots, sanding, applying several coats of finish, and adding a leather wrap and strap for the handle. He even burned my initials, a scripture and an attractive design into the wood. Suffice it to say, that walking stick was of immeasurable help during my long, arduous walk.
Walking sticks are indispensable tools for long distance walkers and hikers. The have been employed for thousands of years around the world. In the Old Testament, they are sometimes called "staffs”, and were used by the Patriarchs and others (See Heb. 11:21). Jesus even advised His early disciples to take them along as they traveled to preach the good news of the kingdom - Mark 6:8.
It should come as no surprise that God’s word is comparable to the walking stick or staff.
According to Psalms 23:4, the shepherd’s staff provides protection and comfort to the flock. In a similar way, God’s word provides comfort as strength as it reveals God's love, grace, forgiveness (through Jesus Christ) and the promise of life eternal (2 Tim. 3:15).
Walking sticks or staffs can also prevent travelers from stumbling or falling on uneven ground or in darkness. God's word can also keep us from giving into temptation. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psa. 119:9).
When a traveler is weary, he can lean on his walking stick or staff for support. God’s word provided similar support to our souls when we are wearied by life. "My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word" (Psa. 119:28).
A walking stick or staff can also be used as a weapon to ward off dangerous animals. Having God’s word in our hearts will help us defeat the “roaring lion" (devil - 1 Pet. 5:8) when he tries to attack. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psa 119:11).
A good, strong walking stick can serve a person for life. God’s word will do the same and more, as long as we continue to read and heed it. “…you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).
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