Today we’re looking at the final verse of Psalm 23, but it’s not the end of our journey. As we follow our Good Shepherd, we receive blessings here in this life and the future where we spend forever in heaven with Him. In this verse, David declares that God’s goodness and mercy or faithful love and compassion will follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. It doesn’t matter whether green pastures or still waters are ahead or we need to walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the Lord’s goodness and mercy accompany us.
God is good because He is love. Everything God says and does is from a place of love because God is love. Assurance of His goodness comes when you truly realize, believe, and experience God’s love for you (1 John 4:16; Romans 5:5). Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35 – 39). God loves us so much that He gave His Son to die in our place to reconcile us to Himself (John 3:16). It is the Good Shepherd that laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:11).
Goodness means that which is pleasing, valuable, or useful. When you look at the world today, you might question or doubt God’s goodness. Because of sin, what you see in the world today is not a perfect reflection of God’s love and goodness as seen at creation (Genesis 1-3). Because we live in a fallen, sinful world, we will have trials, tests, and negative things happen to us as well as the good. Everything that happens to us doesn’t come from God but may come from the devil or even through man. But every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17).
Jesus Himself said that we would have tribulation in the world but to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). For the believer, God works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28), and no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). God’s grace (unmerited favor) covers our lives because of Jesus (John 1:14-17), and He has promised never to leave or forsake us but is right here with us (Hebrews 13:5) ready to do battle on our behalf (2 Chronicles 20:15) and lead us to a place of victory if we let Him! (1 John 5:4; Deuteronomy 20:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13). There is fresh grace available each day so ask Him for it (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
God loves you and wants to give you good things. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), i.e., grace, healing, deliverance, provision, protection, preservation, righteousness, wisdom, direction, etc. All of the promises of God in Him are Yes and in Him Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1
According to the Merriam-Webster.com dictionary, mercy means compassion or forbearance (a refraining from the enforcement of something such as a debt, right, or obligation that is due) shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power. It also means a Blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:8 – 9
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1 – 2
Through the LORD’s mercies, we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22 – 23
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:4 – 5
I want to encourage you to take some time to read and meditate on Psalm 103, which declares the mercies of God.
Before we move on to the second part of this verse, there are two words in this first section that we need to look at a little more closely. The word Surely is emphatic and means certainly, completely, and only. The word follow doesn’t mean to fall or lag behind. The Hebrew meaning of this word is to pursue, chase, and attend closely upon. God is always chasing us down with His goodness and mercy, His lovingkindness.
God doesn’t just give us mercy. He is mercy, and He doesn’t just respond with goodness. He is goodness! Our Shepherd’s intention is for our forgiveness, cleansing, goodness, and mercy. Take some time with your Shepherd until you have received His forgiveness, restoration, or assurance.
Our life’s journey is about our story with our Shepherd and us. It is about our Shepherd with us, for us, and His care for us! When we have the Lord as our Shepherd, our life’s journey is worthwhile and Blessed, and at the end of our life, we will spend eternity in heaven with Him. We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3
“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16 – 17
We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to dwell with Him and in the house of the Lord. To dwell in the house of the Lord means to be in God’s presence. So we can dwell in God’s house right now as we abide with our Shepherd. It is a place of safety.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:1 – 2
How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! Psalm 84:1 NIV
One thing I have desired of the LORD that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4
His dwelling place is His tabernacle or temple. God sent His Son to dwell or tabernacle among us (John 1:14). When you ask Jesus to come into your heart to be your Savior, the Holy Spirit comes in to dwell in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are His temple!
In closing, let’s look at the names of God we see in Psalm 23.
Jehovah-Roi (The Lord my Shepherd); Jehovah-Jireh (the LORD, my Provider)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Jehovah -Shalom (the LORD, my Peace)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Jehovah-Rophe (the LORD, my Healer)
He restores my soul.
Jehovah-Tsidkenu (the LORD, my Righteousness)
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Jehovah-Shama (the LORD is present)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Jehovah-Nissi (the LORD, my Victory)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Jehovah-Manah (the LORD, my portion)
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Jehovah-Cheleq (the LORD, my Inheritance)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Blight, Wendy. (2015). I Know His Name. Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books.
Rothschild, Jennifer. (2018). Psalm 23. Nashville, Tennessee: Lifeway Press.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc. ®