From the time I was a small child until now, the 23rd Psalm has been my favorite Psalm. A few weeks ago, we ended our Making Space for God Bible study, The Names of God. Our last teaching from that study focused on this adored Psalm and today I want to study the last line:
Surely your goodness and love/mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
In more modern translations of the Bible, the Hebrew word for “mercy” is often translated as “loving-kindness”. This season as we studied various songs of praise found in scripture, we found that goodness and loving-kindness are a huge part of God’s character.
God’s very nature is goodness and love. As we are reminded in Psalm 105:5:
His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations.
When we unpack the word “surely” from the Hebrew words tob and chessed, we realize that God’s loving-kindness, His goodness is UNconditional. He never waivers in his faithfulness.
His goodness is not contingent upon us being good or following His instructions perfectly. Instead, He has promised us with all certainty that His goodness, mercy, and kindness will chase after us.
I don’t know about you, but this hits me in a way that is impactful from the ground up of my life. Perhaps we could read it this way:
For I am certain, God will chase after me with His overwhelming kindness and His character, which is totally good. He will keep pursuing me all the days of my life because it is His nature to radically love me.
Now you say it. Personalize the paragraph above because it means that you are not alone, you are never forsaken, and even when you walk through the valley of darkness, He chases after you with His goodness.
We always hear that we must follow the Good Shepherd, Jesus, closely. How true this is! But, sometimes it is hard to see, trust, or comprehend that God is pursuing us.
I contend that we must look behind and see that He has hemmed us in with His goodness, compassion, and love. We follow hard after Him in obedience to love and surrender; but all the while, He is bringing up the rear of our lives with His mercy that we don’t deserve, and that we cannot earn. All we need to do is believe and place our trust in Him.
I hope that you will consider looking back and recognizing His radical pursuit of you, His beloved.
And perhaps, this one small passage will be as life-changing to you as it has been for me.
Surely, your goodness and loving-kindness will pursue me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.