Summary: Jacob worshipped God leaning on the top of his staff at the end of his life. What does that mean to you and I? Do we have a staff to lean upon?


By Pastor Jim May

Scriptures used: 1 Samuel 17:40, Psalms 23:4, Exodus 12:11-12, 2 Kings 4:29-34, and primary verse – Hebrews 11:21

Jacob was a man whose whole life had been changed by the grace and mercy of God. He began his life as a deceiver, stealing the birthright of Esau. Later on, as we mentioned last Sunday night, he was converted as he wrestled all night long with the Angel of the Lord, until finally, at the break of day, he was given a new name, a new nature and a new purpose. From that time on we see a new Jacob. He is now a man of faith, love and charity. He is a man with the call of God, and a purpose for living and a promise from God that would stand forever. He had become 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 are going to live a life by faith that is pleasing to God.

Perhaps I better explain what a staff is before we try to continue. What is a staff?

1. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds.

2. A stick or club used as a weapon.

3. An ensign of authority or a badge of office.

4. A pole erected to display a flag or banner.

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 Goliath, we only talk about the smooth stones and the sling that David carried but I want to read 1 Samuel 17:40 and let you see that there was something else that David carried into that battle. The stone that was thrown by his sling, representing the Rock, Christ Jesus, as David’s Savior and Deliverer, became the instrument that killed Goliath, but before the sling could be used, and the rock could be thrown, David needed his staff.

I am reminded of the TV commercial of a major credit card company that says, “Don’t leave home without it.” It seems that God is saying to David concerning his staff, “David, don’t face the giant without it; and don’t try to defeat the enemy without it. David you need the staff.”

I Samuel 17:40 says, "And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine."

David had to have that staff with him. It was not just an instrument to be used as a weapon of offense or a weapon of defense. It was not 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. His staff was one of the most important possessions in his life. Later on, that staff was transformed from a shepherd’s staff to a king’s scepter, but it was still a staff in his life and David never forgot what it stood for.

Later on, in David’s life, he wrote many Psalms of praise to God. Listen to what he had to say in one of them. Psalms 23:4, "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."

The shepherd’s staff and the king’s scepter were both symbols of David’s trust in God. They both held up the banner of David’s God and they both became the emblem of David’s faith in God and his badge of authority in God.

Another man in the Bible who knew what that staff meant was Moses. It was the staff that became a serpent that swallowed the serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians. It was the staff that Moses carried that parted the waters of the Red Sea. Everywhere that we see Moses, there is a staff present.

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