A shepherd as recorded in Psalm 23 had a rod and aa staff but in reality, I have never really seen a shepherd holding more than one stick. So how come HIS rod and staff comfort me when I only see one stick in HIS hand?
There goes a saying that a dog plays and disciplines its child the same set of teeth it has. Which means that the object of care is also the object of correction/punishment.
Hebrews 4:12 also explains the feature of the Word of GOD being a two-edged sword and how it divides what is GOD from what is not of GOD even though it looks right and admissible.
The Rod and The Staff are from the same Element and this Element functions based on the state of the heart of the sheep; either the element serves as an object of authority and direction for the obedient sheep or as an object of correction/punishment for the erring ones. What is rest assured is that both measures are meant for the comfort of the sheep.
The Word of GOD that comes out with authority and power is the same Word that corrects/punishes the Children whenever they err. What is most important to know is that HIS Word comes deep from HIS Heart of Love and Compassion. HIS Word spoken to us in different times is for the purpose of that ultimate comfort/rest HE had purposed for us.
HE is always hoping that we would only experience the Staff-side of HIS Word alone by simply obeying with due diligence but if we, by any means slip, HIS mercies resident in HIS Rod will nudge us back to The Way that leads to Life.
But the sheep must also know that this double-featured Element can also be a tool of judgement for those animals that have failed to see reason with the Shepherd in the Light of all HE had shown them by the same Element that will mete out their judgement.
Peace To The Wise!