“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
King David has just finished reflecting on how The Lord shepherds him and has come to the right conclusion that no matter his circumstance in life, his cup overflows. In the verse above, he turns his eyes to the future. He has experienced the Lord’s abundant blessings in the past and the present, and he is confident of the continuation of those blessings.
I do not always smile at my future. With respect to my son, Gabriel, I admit that sometimes the future seems bleak. At times, progress in his development seems slow. But a happy outlook on things to come should never be based on my ever changing circumstances. Rather, it should be the promise of the Lord’s presence through those changes that lifts up my countenance. If my Shepherd is not with me, there is no future. Praise The Lord that is not the truth! “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
I can have the same confidence that David had, not because of any merit on my part (I am just a dumb sheep, after all), but because of who my Shepherd is. My surroundings will change: green pastures and still waters one day and dark valleys the next. I will change: owing to my forgetfulness and my propensity to stray away from Him. But my Lord will never change. He remains faithful.
King David’s last words in this psalm doesn’t just reflect a hopeful forward focus, but also an eternal upward gaze. The Shepherd promises to be with his sheep, not just for the remainder of their days in this life, but we have a sure hope of the permanent presence of The Lord for all eternity.
This is the time of year when eyes are distracted by toys and gadgets … when wish lists are passed around … and when the true meaning of the celebration is overshadowed by commercialism. What do you want? Not for Christmas. What do you desire above all else? What is the one thing? Like David (as he expressed in this psalm and in another one of my favorite verses), may our deepest heart’s desire be to abide in The Lord, to dwell in His house forever.
“One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.”
So, this concludes our trek through Psalm 23. If you just joined me on this journey through this beloved psalm, I hope you can take a few minutes to look back and behold the wonderful sights in the previous verses. This is such a well-known passage of Scripture that I personally didn’t think much about studying it. I thought I knew it well too, but I realized after only the first verse how much more I needed to learn. A special thanks to my husband for studying this treasure and teaching it to our home bible study. I hope you were blessed in some way by looking more closely at the Shepherd who satisfies our souls.
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(Photo credit 1: greeneydmantis)
(Photo credit 2: Anne Marie Cunningham)