Preface: This past week, we have been experiencing God’s love through His Word. We have been using Psalm 23 as our text, taking one verse each day and spending a little time considering what it means to be loved by God.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23:6 NIV – New International Version)
Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.
(Psalm 23:6 TLB – The Living Bible)
So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!
(Psalm 23:6 TPT – The Passion Translation)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.(Psalm 23:6 KJV – King James Version)
As we consider today’s verse, we see the continuation of God’s love from the previous verses:
- The care of God’s love as He provides rest for body and soul (v. 2)
- The calling of God’s love, as He gives purpose to our lives through work (v. 3)
- The comfort of God’s love, as He provides for us and protects us, even in fearful circumstances (v. 4)
- The celebration of God’s love, powerfully manifested in the very presence of our enemies (v. 5)
As the author (King David) wraps up this psalm, his confidence in God has grown as he has seen God walk with him through good days and bad, providing for him and protecting him in both perceived and real threats.
So what is the psalmist’s conclusion?
As he has experienced God working on his behalf, he trusts God to continue walking with him through the rest of his life journey, and into eternity.
This statement is a step of faith, as the psalmist does not put his faith in his own ability to provide for himself and protect himself. The psalmist does not say, “Lord, thanks for getting me through that rough patch of life; I’ve got this now.” Neither does the psalmist demand that God take care of him because he has somehow earned or merited God’s favor. Instead, the psalmist surrenders his life to God’s immense love, both in this life and the next.
Additionally, this statement is an act of worship. The psalmist glorifies God by acknowledging God’s continued protection and provision over the remainder of his days on earth, and God’s ability to carry him from this life to the next.
The psalmist is not saying that life will be easy and problem-free. In fact, he expects troubles and enemies to persist.
The psalmist is trusting God to be consistent in His character, His promise, and His love toward him. As God has cared for, called, comforted, and celebrated the psalmist in the past, God will continue to do so in the future.
So what is the psalmist’s responsibility in all this?
Does he get to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, whenever he wants? No.
Does this mean that God is some sort of cosmic kill-joy, sucking all the joy out of life, leaving only duty and drudgery? No.
The psalmist’s responsibility, in the analogy of the sheep, is to stay with the Shepherd.
May we stay connected to the Shepherd of our souls, walking with Him along life’s journey.
As Jesus said in John Chapter 15, may we abide with Him, as branches depend on the vine for their very life. This “with-ness” is both God’s command and His invitation.
What’s holding you back from surrendering to God’s love and abiding with Him?