“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 ESV
I am currently reading a book given to me by my friend Tracey called A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller. In this beautiful book, he brings he relates real-life experiences as a shepherd to an interpretation of Psalm 23. Don't be surprised if we use the book for an upcoming Bible Study.
Whenever I read Psalm 23, I can picture in my mind a lush pasture land with a clear pond of fresh, pure water in the middle. There are many sheep but only one shepherd who cares there every need. He ensures they are well fed and watered, and serves as their protector against predictors. The sheep trust their shepherd and know the sound of his voice. When he calls, no matter how far away, they come running. They know when they are near the shepherd, they require nothing, and goodness and mercy will be with them.
We are those sheep, but sometimes we act more like mules in our stubbornness. Rather than being content with our Lord's goodness and mercies, we leave the fold in search of even greener pastures. We leave the safety of our shepherd and go out looking in the world of the wolves. When we are out their savaging for "something better,” our shepherd still calls for us by name. The distractions of our search and the distance sometimes makes that voice dim, but he continues to call for us. The wise sheep remains with his shepherd, perhaps because they are fulfilled in having always known the comfort of being the shepherd, yet others because they have returned. There will always be distractions and temptations, but in our Good Shepherd, we enjoy his compassion, love, and safety.
Our Lord and Shepherd, we give you thanks for your continuous goodness and mercies. While we choose to dwell in your house, there are many distractions in the world to tempt us and lead us astray. Please help us appreciate the goodness that comes from you and understand nothing more remarkable in the world than the content we feel in your house. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.