Always Notice What Follows

I have always been fond of the way the 23rd Psalm begins: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want” (v. 1). I also like the way it ends: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (v. 6).

From the beginning to the ending, David claims that when a person knows God as His shepherd, he has the answer to his future. If he can say, “The LORD is my shepherd…” Then he can say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

The “house of the LORD” to the Old Testament Jew represented the temple in Jerusalem. When they were in the temple, they felt like they were in the presence of God Himself. David says, "I’m going to live in His presence forever and it is because of His goodness and mercy." When David uses the word "goodness,” he means God gives me what I don’t deserve, like family, friends, food, fulfillment and forever life. But when He uses the word "mercy," he means God keeps me from what I do deserve like anger and punishment because of my sins. That is why I know my future in His presence is secure. It does not matter how undeserving I am of His love; I receive His goodness. It does not matter how deserving I am of His anger; I receive His mercy. David is saying: “that is why my future is secure.”

Notice: David does not use the word maybe, possibly, or hopefully.  Instead, he uses the word surely – which means with certainty goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. David is saying, “I believe this undoubtedly, unmistakably, unwaveringly. I am sure as sure can be—I will dwell in God’s presence forever!” Dear friends: This is confidence!

Keep in mind that David was an older man when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. He had lived many days when he wrote these words. Over his lifetime, he had experienced tragedies, adversities, and calamities. What was true of David is true for us all. No one is immune to tragedies, exempt from adversities, or excluded from calamities. These are all our realities. That is why we must learn the lesson David learned. No matter what storm clouds roll in today, David knew the sun would shine again tomorrow. David had come to know a Shepherd who would provide for the needs of His flock. This first-hand knowledge had given him a confident outlook on life.

This knowledge will do the same for us. Therefore, today, no matter where you go or what you choose to do, be sure to notice what follows you. It is God’s goodness and mercy. You can be confident of it! Thank God for that!

Devotedly yours,

Pastor Ron

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