by Rich Freeman, D. Min.
In our last Bible study, we looked at the incredible blessings of God in Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” God prepared the table, and we will feast amid our enemies—in the middle of all of our troubles, trials, and tribulations. We are honored guests. Our host has anointed our heads with oil; the Holy Spirit of God not only fills us daily but has also taken permanent residence in us to enable us to live lives pleasing to God. Our cup overflows. The blessings of the Lord, even during a pandemic, are ours in all the abundance of our Messiah.
PSALM 23:6 (NASB)
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The psalm concludes with verse six: “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.” I believe the English translation does not do justice to the Hebrew here. The Hebrew connotes the idea that God’s goodness (tov) and lovingkindness (chesed) will constantly pursue the psalmist, regardless of the circumstances. God’s blessings remain with His people no matter what—no matter how dark the valley, even the valley of a pandemic. No matter how we may try to avoid Him during difficult times, we need only to turn around and see that God’s blessings are there, in constant pursuit of us.
God’s Eternal Blessing
Finally, verse six ends with, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This last sentence is the culmination of the entire psalm. It conveys both a temporal and an eternal meaning. The word translated “dwell,” ve’shavti, also represents the idea of returning. It comes from the Hebrew word shuv, which means “to turn or repent.” As David meditated on the Lord’s leading and provision as his Good Shepherd, he recalled the fellowship he shared with the Lord in His presence, in His house. He also remembered how the Lord forgave even his most grievous sin, how God restored him, and how he returned to Him. I believe that is the temporal blessing. But the ultimate blessing for every believer is the eternal blessing—to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. For David, this eternal blessing was the proverbial top of the mountain.
His mercy and goodness follow you; they constantly pursue you, even when you stray from Him. And He invites you to dwell in His house forever.
God Is Always Faithful
Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known portions of the Bible for its deep meaning. It is particularly encouraging during times of trouble and sorrow. I have often meditated on God’s words and promises in this psalm, and they never cease to bring me comfort when I find myself in a deep, dark valley. The shepherd’s rod and staff comfort me because He calls me His own. He provides for my daily needs and gives me peace when I do not know what tomorrow will bring. He keeps me on the right path, and He helps me make the right choices so I do not wander away from Him. He walks with me through dark times, and He never leaves me. I never need to fear because He is always with me.
You, too, can rely on the truth that God is always faithful. You can count on that promise no matter what you go through. His mercy and goodness follow you; they constantly pursue you, even when you stray from Him. And He invites you to dwell in His house forever. All you have to do is receive this truth and allow Him to lead you as your Great Shepherd.
In the first study of Psalm 23, I mentioned how one of my favorite songs sung at the Passover Seder is the song, “Dayenu.” The Hebrew word dayenu means roughly, “It would have been enough.” The lyrics convey contentment and the worshiper’s gratitude toward God. When looking at Psalm 23, “dayenu” is an appropriate conclusion. We can say without hesitation, “Adonai ro’i” (the Lord is my Shepherd), and “dayenu,” that is most assuredly enough.