“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
To many these words are familiar, so familiar that they may be read over quickly without much contemplation. If this is the case, I encourage you to look at this sweet sentence with fresh eyes. Let’s start by breaking down the verse and then digging into personal application.
“Surely” the verse starts out. The verse starts by confirming that whatever is coming next is certain.
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,” The goodness and mercy referred to in this passage serve as assurance for the faithfulness of God. The author wants us to know that God’s faithfulness is steadfast, it will follow all the days of his life.
“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I read in the ESV commentary that this statement was referring to having full access to the sanctuary for worship in that time period. The word “forever” could imply that this is not merely a physical place in a temple, but a place in the presence of the Lord in this life and beyond.
So what does all of this mean for us today?
If you are a child of God, if you understand the Gospel, believe in Jesus as the only way to salvation and are experiencing His grace then you are continually receiving His goodness and mercy. That is who God is in His very nature, good and merciful. He promises again and again that because of His faithfulness He will gives us the glorious, underserved gifts of His love and mercy.
Psalm 31:19-20 says,
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.”
This does not promise that life as a believer in Christ will be easy, but He has promised to be our shelter. To have the Creator of the whole universe not only give His son up so that we can have a relationship with Him, but also care about the details of our life, to continually show us His goodness even in situations that might not feel all that “good” in themselves and continually show us undeserved mercy when we fail Him – that is a faithful God. I would call that kind of faithfulness to such broken creations such as us unreasonable, and yet He continues to lavish such beautiful gifts such as goodness and mercy on us.
No matter what you are facing, whatever season you may be in, trust in the One who remains faithful through it all. Surely His goodness and mercy will follow you all your days.