In a recent study on the 23rd Psalms, the last verse has impacted me in a very unexpected way. A section of scripture having been read and even sung over the years has completely changed my outlook. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…. All the days of my life, forever." Our study encompassed a book called “A shepherds look at Psalms 23” written by Phillip Keller. A wonderful little book with beautiful pictures of sheep grazing so peacefully in various settings. The author was, at one time in his life a shepherd. He compares his life of being a diligent caring shepherd to the Good Shepherd and gives greater depth and meaning to each portion of scripture. In this final portion of the book after we have learned in greater detail all the ways our good shepherd takes to ensure our overall welfare, we can make this bold beautiful statement, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me”. Because He is such a good shepherd, because I have taken care to be a good follower, staying close and abiding in the presence of my diligent shepherd, I can boldly claim that goodness and mercy will indeed follow me. But it doesn’t end there. The author takes it to a new, more glorious level. Because goodness and mercy are mine, abundantly, as the previous verse clearly states with our cups running over, should it not follow me? Be what I give back, be that very goodness and mercy that was extended to me is what so freely flows from my life into the lives of those who follow. This begs to ask the question of every believer, what flows out of you? Do you extend goodness and mercy to those who follow? From your life do you exhibit goodness or wickedness? Do you extend mercy and compassion or withhold loving kindness towards someone who has wronged you? If goodness and mercy are to follow, then they will flow in abundance to those around us. One of my favorite songs has a phrase “your goodness is running after me”. When we become that sheep (Christian) that closely follows, whose lives are under the careful management of the good shepherd then not only will the goodness and mercy follow but our goodness and mercy will run after those who are in desperate need of such goodness, mercy, and the grace of God. This rich blessing bestowed upon us thereby flows to those around us. What a wonderful picture of God’s great love, mercy and never-ending goodness. Let this be a challenge to you. If your lacking goodness and mercy towards your fellow, draw closer to the Good Shepherd. He will fill you with His Goodness and extend you His great mercy.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6