Throughout this psalm, David is emphasizing the care exercised by the gentle, loving, attentive shepherd to his flock. Goodness and mercy will be the treatment the sheep receives from his master’s expert, loving hands. The sheep knows of his privileged position. No matter what comes, the sheep rest confidently in the shepherd.
As the sheep of the Good Shepherd’s pasture, this is our confession~ that His goodness and mercy will be bestowed upon us. God's favor chases us down wherever we go! The effect of God’s merciful dealings with His sheep will lead us to the assurance that our Good Shepherd will always be our Shepherd and our friend.
All the days of our lives His care and love will govern us. What a beautiful picture~ in all of the circumstances and the trials, successes, etc, our Shepherd bestows His goodness and mercy upon us. In our limited understanding of various events and situations that we find ourselves in; when our natural tendency is to worry, panic, or fear or ask “why”, when we have the thought that I can manage my life better on my own …our Good Shepherd holds us still; speaks tender words of love; comforts us in our grief; has compassion on His sheep. Truly God’s goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. I cannot escape His love. Psalm 139 (another psalm of David’s) says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” verses 7-10. God's favor chases us down wherever we go!
Goodness is kindness, favor, charity, acts of benevolence bestowed upon someone. That is a description of our God. This is His character. And His mercy (defined by Noah Webster in 1828) is: “That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.” God alone exercised mercy in its accurate description. This too is His character. And it has become for His sheep the great foundation of our faith and confidence in Him. God's favor chases us down wherever we go!
Just as God’s goodness and mercy flow to me all the days of my life, so goodness and mercy should flow from me to others~ left behind as a legacy to others, wherever I go. Do I deposit blessing to others? “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news; that proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” Isaiah 52:7. For the one under the Shepherd’s care, there should be left a legacy of encouragement and inspiration to others.
This blessed life under the care of the Tender, Loving Shepherd is one of which David says, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,”(verse 6b). The more accurate translation of that verse is: “I will dwell or I shall return to the house of the Lord for the rest of my days”. This is what David’s heart longed for~ it is seen all over the pages of God’s Word where David spoke and those words written about David. He was a man after God’s own heart and He desired to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. In Psalm 27:4, David shares his heart’s cry, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”
In comparing to the sheep/shepherd analogy, a sheep so utterly satisfied with its lot in life, so fully contented with the care it receives, so much “at home” with the shepherd that there is not a moment where there’s a desire for a change. Stated simply, a sheep could say, “Nothing could ever move me from this homestead~ it’s great & I am well-cared for!”
I echo the sheep’s statement~ “Nothing could ever move me from this homestead~ it’s great and I am well-cared for.” God's favor chases me down wherever I go! And as David, I want to live in God’s presence~ aware of His blessings in my life; His goodness and mercy; His love and kindness; His presence and power; His joy; His gentleness; etc….the one thing I ask of the Lord….that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing upon His beauty and splendor, seeking Him in His temple.
Oh Lord, would you make a HOLY HABITATION of my heart!
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me besides quiet waters, He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.
Even 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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy (love) will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.