As David brings his song of the sheep to a close, having reflected on the Lord’s faithful care throughout his life, he then considers his future.
In his book The Shepherd Psalm, F. B. Meyer refers to “goodness and lovingkindness” as our “celestial escort.”1 Another commentator suggests that these are “God’s sheepdogs,” ever near His flock, ever nipping at our heels, always available.2 Perhaps that is a fitting analogy, especially when we consider that they “follow” us. Because we are “prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love,” He sends His faithful companions out after us—goodness and mercy—kindness and lovingkindness. Our Lord deals with us so kindly, so graciously. What a difference between God and man! Let man go on a search for a wayward soul and there is often bitterness and revenge and impatience in his steps, especially if the search is lengthy. But with God, there is goodness and lovingkindness.
I am convinced that one of the reasons the prodigal son “came to himself” and finally returned home was because of the kind of father he had. There is no magnet with a stronger pull than genuine love. Love has drawn back more wanderers and softened more hard hearts than this world will ever know. It is fitting, then, that you and I are followed “all the days” of our lives by goodness and lovingkindness. God knows what will best do the job! How varied are our Lord’s methods.
Mark it down, my friend, God knows how to deal with His children. More specifically, He knows how to deal with you. His dealings follow you all the days of your life. Your circumstances right now are part of His plan for you.
This wonderful song concludes with a familiar and comforting thought: “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” The psalmist is not referring to a place as much as he is to a Person. Notice that the Twenty-third Psalm begins and ends with “the LORD.” David longed to be in his Lord’s house, because he could then be in his Lord’s presence.
You see, the ultimate goal in David’s heart was a face-to-face relationship with his Lord forever. Instead of vague uncertainty, he had confidence. We Christians will enjoy a never-ending fellowship with God the moment we draw our last earthly breath. What assurance!
That is exactly what Jesus Christ promises those who believe in Him . . . not merely “I hope so” but “I know!” In Him we truly have everything we need.
1. F. B. Meyer, The Shepherd Psalm (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1895), 162.
2. Haddon W. Robinson, Psalm Twenty-Three: A Devotional (Chicago: Moody Press, 1968), 59.
From Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.