Someone once said of the twenty-third Psalm, “what the nightingale is among birds, that is this divine ode among the Psalms, for it has sung sweetly in the ear of many a mourner in his night of weeping, and has bidden him hope for a morning of joy.”
We don’t know David’s age when he wrote this Psalm but it sounds as if written out of a long and mature relationship with the Lord. Anyone who has lived life long knowing the Lord can relate to David’s words. David tells us how God has guided, comforted and restored his soul, along green pastures and still waters, on paths of righteousness, and through dark and dangerous valleys. He recalls God’s provision of an overflowing cup, special anointing, and a banquet even while surrounded by enemy.
The last line expresses his confident expectation of God’s continued care. Because The Lord is my shepherd! Because of all I have experienced in my relationship with Him! “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Charles Spurgeon wrote, “These twin guardian angels will always be with me at my back and my beck. . . . Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins.” The Psalmist is certain that God’s care will not change through the rest of his life, and into his eternity where he and we will dwell in our everlasting home.
The twenty-third Psalm reminds us of the peace, comfort, strength, and rest enjoyed by those who follow the Shepherd. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30) Our response to Jesus’ words can be like those of David’s. Because of our Lord’s love expressed by His death on the cross, His power demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead, and His promise to those who follow Him, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Chaplain Norman Drummond