PSALM 23:6: “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Am I aware of the Lord’s pursuing love? Do I see His goodness in my life each day? Am I walking in the assurance of my salvation and the blessed hope of eternal life? Am I aware of God’s presence at this very moment?
I love Psalm 23. It is one of the most well known and beloved Psalms in the Bible. I will never forget a bumper sticker that came from Calvary Chapel during the early days of the Jesus Movement in the 1970s. It was a play on this verse. There were two dogs, one was named goodness, and the other mercy. They were running after a young man as he journeyed down a path. It came from the King James translation of this verse.
- “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalms 23:6 KJV
One of the reasons I read a different translation of the Bible each year is that it brings a fresh perspective on very familiar verses. My focus on this verse in the New Living Translation this morning is on the word pursuing. God’s goodness and unfailing love do not simply follow me all the days of my life – THEY PURSUE ME!
I have experienced the pursuing love of God in my life. I will never forget how His love pursued me as a young man. My life was on the wrong path. Around every corner the Lord’s goodness and unfailing love pursued me. Like Jacob, I wrestled with God until I realized I could not win. Finally, I cried out to the Lord and He saved me and redeemed my life.
During those early days, I experienced God’s pursuing goodness and unfailing love in many powerful ways. However, as the years passed by, something began to happen. I don’t know how it happened, but I began to embrace the idea that God’s goodness and unfailing love were conditional. When I was walking in faith I would sense His love. However, when I failed I felt like His love was withdrawn from my life.
The enemy of our souls is very crafty. He knows the power available to us if we abide in Christ. To abide in Christ is to abide in His goodness and unfailing love. Unlike our love, God’s love is not conditional. While our sin may temporarily break our fellowship with God, it never changes God’s love toward us. God continues to pursue us with His goodness and unfailing love, even when we backslide in our walk with Him.
If Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners, if He pursued us when we were lost and alienated from His love, will He not continue to pursue us each and every day of our life?
In my reading today my Old Testament selection began with the story of Joseph. Joseph was pursued by God’s goodness and unfailing love. Yet, not everything in Joseph’s life looked like it from the outward appearance. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, accused falsely by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into jail, and then helping the King’s cupbearer, only to be forgotten and left in prison – this does not look like goodness and unfailing love.
Yet, if you read this story carefully, you will note that in every situation God’s hand was upon Joseph. Joseph could not see it but it was there none the less. God was preparing Joseph for a role that would enable God’s covenant with Abraham to be fulfilled. He would be instrumental in saving his family and in his family becoming a great and mighty nation.
God’s goodness and unfailing love continually pursued Joseph and it is continually pursuing every child of God. This past year was a year filled with many challenges and disappointments. Many of the plans I had for 2020 were never even started. I felt sidelined and discouraged. Yet, in all of this, God’s goodness and unfailing love have been pursuing me. He is preparing me for my next assignment, my next step, my next call.
I love the opening verses of Psalm 23 and the great care of The Shepherd of my soul for my life. Yet, I love the closing words so much because it reminds me of His covenant with me and His faithfulness to complete that which He has begun in my life. He does not reject me when I fall. Rather, He pursues me to restore me. He calls me to repentance and He stands ready to forgive me and cleanse me. He is always pursuing me – until the day when I stand in His presence completed by His glory.
Lord, thank you for reminding me of Your goodness and unfailing love! May I begin today knowing that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Fill me anew with Your Holy Spirit. And, may I walk in the blessed assurance of the fact that, “…I will live in the house of the Lord forever!”
In Jesus Name!