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
King David experienced the goodness and mercy of G-d and, according to Rabbinic tradition, “composed this Psalm upon arriving in the Charet Forest during his flight from King Shaul (Shemuel I 22:5). This was a particularly arid and barren region, which offered David no hope at all for survival. According to tradition, G-d miraculously provided David with “the goodness of the world to come” to sustain him during his stay in the otherwise uninhabitable forest. David responds by giving praise to G-d for His ability to provide a person’s needs under even the harshest conditions.” (Daily Tehillim)
In his commentary, The Reverend Matthew Henry wrote “Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.”
Experience. Both Kind David and Rev. Henry experienced hardship during their lives. Like King David, Rev. Henry knew G-d as Shepherd as well as Father and King. I suppose that they each, as they aged, were able to look back upon their lives and see the signs that G-d was ever presence. They testify to all Believers that despite how we may feel during what we perceive as a crisis in our lives, G-d sustains us, will take us through times that seem devastating, yet when we look back upon them later, they were but shadows of death.
Point One: “Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow. . .” shows boldness and intimacy concerning the LORD. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” wrote the author of Hebrews in 4:16. Confidence is displayed in King David’s bold proclamation. It is no simple prayer requesting goodness and mercy, but a statement that it goodness and mercy not only do at the present time follow, but have followed King David in his walk with the LORD, and will continue to do so.
I did a quick web search on “building confidence” and came back with 28 million results in .38 seconds. The first page contained links that all dealt with having self-confidence and boosting self-confidence. King David was a fine leader and military commander, yet his confidence was not in himself, but in the G-d of Israel, our G-d. King David was quick to point out that there was someone greater than he, to Whom his knee bowed. “Surely mercy and goodness shall follow me. . .” declares that the King of Israel was not greater than the least in the nation, for all are sheep in the Shepherd’s flock.
Point Two: King David wrote that the LORD “makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters,” (Psalm 23:2). Green pastures and tranquil water. We, too, as followers and believers, are led across green pastures; we walk beside tranquil water. We don’t always see these pastures. We don’t always notice the still water. We look with our physical eyes, rather than with the eyes of our hearts. Are we not myopic? We become obsessed with the valley of darkness that looms over us? Our immediate crisis takes over our lives, seemingly trying to possess us. The Lord is our refuge: He’s our ever-present green pasture offering the solace of still, untroubled waters. We need only seek Him, and with the eyes of our hearts see the green pasture in which we may reveal. In Him we are drawn into the peace of tranquil waters. “Surely goodness and mercy” follow us all the days of our lives.
Point Three: Daily Bread. Daily Sustenance. The goodness of the LORD follows us daily. This is a principle that drives our journey with our Lord: we must look daily for the sustenance He provides. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not,” (Exodus 16:14). Y’shuaJesus reiterated this principle when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matthew 6:11). Our Shepherd knows us. Too little and we are tempted to steal, too much we are tempted to ignore our Provider.
“After the things of God’s glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance:and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry:we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Proverbs 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Proverbs 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer,” wrote Rev. Henry.
Summing it up, We display in our lives boldness and confidence in Y’shuaJesus, so that like King David, we may declare that goodness and mercy follow us. Look again at the words of Rev. Henry, “experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives.” We learn to trust through the lives of others who have experienced the way of G-d. We gain this experience our selves, as we live and walk with the Lord. In both these ways we set aside the physical eyesight, to see with the eyes of our heart, to walk at peace with the Lord. Finally, we walk with the Lord, like the cliche, “one day at a time.” He is our Daily Bread, the Bread of Life.