TOPIC: FOLLOWED BY GOD’S GOODNESS
Bible in a Year: Psalms 49–50; Romans 1
Key Verse: Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. Psalm 23:6
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 23
In Psalm 23, the psalmist David referred to God as his shepherd and by implication to himself as a sheep (v. 1). This wasn’t unusual. There are other references to this analogy between a deity and its followers in ancient Middle Eastern cultures. In ancient thought, a king was a shepherd. God as shepherd to His people is a familiar idea throughout the Bible beginning in Genesis, where Jacob called God “the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (49:24).
In Psalm 28, David entreated God to “be [the people’s] shepherd and carry them forever” (v. 9). And the psalmist Asaph referred to God as the “Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock” (80:1). Other Old Testament references to God as a shepherd include Ecclesiastes 12:11; Isaiah 40:11; Micah 7:14; and Zechariah 13:7. In the New Testament, Jesus spoke of Himself as “the good shepherd [who] lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). By: Alyson Kieda
At my first job during my high school years, I worked at a women’s clothing store where a female security guard dressed as a shopper followed women she thought might steal the merchandise. Certain people fit profiles of those the store owners thought were suspicious. Others not considered a threat were left alone. I’ve been profiled in stores myself and followed, an interesting experience since I still recognize the tactic.
In sharp contrast, David declared he was followed by a divine blessing—God’s goodness and mercy. These two gifts always stay close, following him not with suspicion but real love. The “twin guardian angels,” as evangelist Charles Spurgeon described the pair, follow believers closely during both bleak days and bright. “The dreary days of winter as well as the bright days of summer. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins.”
As a onetime shepherd, David understood this intentional pairing of goodness and mercy as it’s provided by God. Other things could follow believers—fear, worry, temptation, doubts. But “surely,” David declares with undoubting certainty, God’s kind goodness and loving mercy follow us always. As David rejoiced, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). What an amazing gift to follow us home! By: Patricia Raybon
Reflect: How does being followed by God’s goodness and mercy bless your life? How can you become more aware of this?
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for following me with good intentions and two beautiful blessings, Your goodness and mercy.