“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6
Not too long ago my wife and I decided that we would begin the practice of reciting certain passages as a family, for in our particular Christian tradition, this really is not a very common practice. Wrote prayers are, in fact, prayed by many believers around the world every single day, and many Christian traditions practice reciting them together. We started with the obvious ones, the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the Aaronic blessing, etc. In reflecting upon the last line of Psalm 23, I am struck by a number of things.
First, I’m taken aback by the great confidence with which David asserts his future days will be blessed and he will be with God in the end. This should not be overlooked. What grounds did David have in making this assertion? I’m inclined to think that he could make this claim because of all that a Great Shepherd entails. Everything leading up to this final sentence makes the final analysis all but sure. Since God is like a Great Shepherd, He meets our needs, He protects us in times of uncertainty and darkness, He protects us from ourselves, He abides with us. These are the qualities which led David to conclude that the good shepherd is Good, and hence, His Goodness will follow after us all the days of our lives. Not just some days, but every single day. The Goodness of God is everything to us: it affords everything to us, undergirds us, and empowers us to be who were created to be. Not only is the Great Shepherd good, but He is merciful. As we know, “His mercies are new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). Mercy can be understood as one particular application of the goodness of God to us; namely, when we are in need of mercy, the goodness of God meets us in a profound way.
Second, I’m struck by the notion that David concludes the psalm with the location of our final destination: we will dwell with the Lord forever. Notice that he says we will dwell “in the house of the Lord” forever. Even though the “house” may be understood in different ways, the Scriptures refer to creation as God’s Temple, or His House. We will dwell with God in the universe He created. Thus, David’s declaration is simply this: no matter where God is, He will always be accessible to us, and we to Him. As the redeemed children of God, surely the goodness and mercy of our Great Shepherd will follow us and we will be with Him forever and ever and ever.
Word for the Way:
Take some time to reflect upon the goodness and mercy of God and express your gratitude to Him that we will dwell with Him forever.