Jesus’ first disciples and the apostles were known as the “Way” (Acts 9:2, 22:4,, 14, 22) after his resurrection and ascension into heaven before and as much as they were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26, 25:28). Choosing to be a Christian is accepting and adopting the way to live as taught by Jesus and the apostles. The way is a path. Jesus defined it this way, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road (way) that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road (way) that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
The proverb in verse 10 is a warning and hope to the Christian who leaves the way (path). “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path…”
Jesus is my good and great Shepherd (Matthew 9:36, 25:32, 26:31; John 10:11). His rod comforts me. The rod of a shepherd has many uses including providing a strayed sheep back onto the path to green fields and quiet waters. Jesus loves me and though I stay he will lead me back to the narrow way.
People whether called pasture, shepherd, priest, bishop, or leader should pay attention that they do not believe they are God’s rod. Many sheep have been driven further away from the narrow path by people who believe they are the hand of God’s discipline. “…he who hates correction will die.”