By Pastor Tom Davidson
Jacob grew old, but he didn’t grow weary of God’s promise. Hebrews 11:21 “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.” Jacob was nearing the end of his life; he was making the final arrangements after his death. Then the scripture says something very interesting; it says that Jacob “worshiped God as he leaned on the top of his staff.” So, what does that mean? It could mean something very simple, he was old, weak, and frail and he needed support so he leaned on the top of his staff for support. That’s a very feasible explanation. But, I think it means something a little deeper than that simple explanation. The staff of a person in those days was in essence that person’s life story; because they would carve the events of their life on the staff, then it would be handed down to the next generation.
He began to understand what it meant to walk with the staff of God on his side. God has a staff! It’s a staff that all of us must carry if we’re going to live a life by faith that is pleasing to God. What can the staff mean to you and I, and what did it mean to Jacob? There are other times in the Word of God where carrying a staff was a part of the call of God upon the life of someone. One of those was David. Most of the time when we talk about David and the story of him and Goliath, we only talk about the smooth stones and the sling that David carried, but you see there was something else that David carried into that battle. The stone that was thrown by his sling, represented the Rock, Christ Jesus, as David’s Savior and Deliverer, and it became the instrument that killed Goliath, but before the sling could be used, and the rock could be thrown, David needed his staff. It wasn’t just an instrument to be used as an offensive or defensive weapon. It wasn’t just to be used to help him get down from the mountaintop and go down the rocks and into the valley below to face Goliath. That staff was much more than just a stick; it was a support, and a symbol of David’s trust in the power of God. It was a symbol of the promises of God. It was a source of strength for David, for in that staff was the symbol to David of the very presence of his God. David leaned on that staff. David counted on that staff. David never lost sight of that staff.
Do you carry that staff today? Oh, I know you don’t carry around a shepherd’s staff, but you still carry what that staff represents. The only difference is that you don’t have a physical emblem in your hand to represent what the staff represents. Instead, you carry that staff in your heart by faith! What is that staff in your life? It’s the Cross of Calvary! It’s the badge of honor and of victory over my sin and your sin that Jesus bore upon the cross when He shed His blood for us! It’s the badge of authority by which I claim victory over sin, power over the devil, and deliverance from every power of darkness. It’s the cross upon which I lean and depend for my salvation! It’s the symbol of the very presence of Jesus Christ in my life. It’s a symbol of God’s very present help in my time of greatest need! It’s the cross that became the weapon that Jesus used to defeat all the powers of Hell! It’s the cross that gives me the victory and brings to me eternal life when I find myself in the Valley of Death! It’s that Rod and that Staff that comfort me in times of sickness. The Cross of Christ is the staff upon which I lean.
Maybe today you’re holding on to anger and bitterness, and you want to get rid of it, you need to cast it on the altar of God’s grace and mercy. Let’s be like Jacob, lean on the top of our staff, or look back at our lives no matter how long it may be, weather good or bad, and worship Jesus today.