Pastor Wade's Blog

Christian! You Are Being Pursued!

Psalm 23:6a, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."   

Many Christians live with the constant awareness of being pursued by problems – many in the form of persons.

Throughout his life David knew what it was to look over his shoulder and see the relentless pursuit of persistent problems and persons hunting him down. Yet years of walking with God had trained his eyes to see something more in the rearview mirror. As relentless as were the problems, there were two other things which he had come to see as even more persistently pursuing him. It was the "goodness” and “mercy” or “loving-kindness" of God. The word "goodness" is also translated as that which is prosperous, happy, pleasant, beautiful, delightful, glad, joyful, and precious. The "loving-kindness" of God is His deep covenant commitment to uphold His promises of love toward His people.

Goodness takes care of my steps; mercy takes care of my stumbles.

The word translated "follow" means "to pursue” or “to hunt”. That means that the Christian is a "hunted" person. They are hunted by Goodness and Mercy that they might load all their benefits upon them with a determination to never stop or let them go.

The loving-kindness of God - His goodness and mercy - is eternal. It’s persistent, stubborn love God has for His children. He won’t turn His back on us or give up on us or let us go. God’s goodness and mercy are not just hanging out behind me but are pursuing me to catch me every day! PTL!

Someone has suggested that David was probably more afraid of what was behind than of what was before. Before was the valley of the shadow of death, but he would fear no evil there; but behind David was a black record of sin and shame. Think of what David saw when he looked back. Think of the bitter memory of adultery and murder. Any man with such a past might well be filled with fear. What about your past? Think of the sins that you have committed. I sometimes shudder when I think of my own sinful past, and yet when I turn to look at that past, between the past and the present stand Goodness and Mercy. As in the case of David of old, Goodness and Mercy attend us so that we need not fear the past. Confidence is expressed by the use of the word "surely." There is no guess here, no perhaps. It is not probably, or possibly, or maybe, but surely.

So what does this mean?

If you are a born-again child of God, no matter how far from God you feel, rest assured that He is always pursuing you with goodness and mercy to change your heart and strengthen your faith. 

During every painful, frustrating interruption in life, God is hunting you down with His goodness and mercy. 

In every trial you’re going through has God’s prosperous, happy, pleasant, beautiful, delightful, glad, joyful, and precious goodness and mercy is pursuing you.

Irrespective of how hard the task, God is pursuing you with His goodness and mercy - He will help you, guide you, surprise you, and satisfy you.

Whenever you sin, God is pursuing you with goodness and mercy to prompt you to repent so he can forgive you, cleanse you, and restore you so you can continue to glorify him by enjoying Him. 

Whenever you feel inadequate, God is pursuing you with goodness and mercy to give you everything you need to do all He calls you to do. 

The dominant inclination of our Good and Great Shepherd's heart is to pursue after us with His “goodness and mercy.” God is constantly watching after you, and His grace is constantly working in you! It is God’s nature to love, sacrificially, selflessly, extravagantly, and beyond our wildest expectations. So the psalmist can say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life,” because that is who my Shepherd is!

“Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah to length of days.” Rather than translate the Hebrew particle at the beginning of the verse as “surely”, some translations use it in its proper sense as meaning “only” or “exclusively”.  This means the favor that the child of God experiences is so great that they regard it as unmixed, or any exceptions as unworthy of consideration.

If this is the preferred translation, it’s remarkable. This makes it a Romans 8:28 type statement - for "only goodness and mercy shall follow me" means only and always that "all things are working together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose." This ought to fill our hearts with joy even during hardest trials and experiences.

"All the days of my life." The care of God never ceases, the vigilance of God never relaxes, the love of God never changes. "All the days" really means "all of the day" as well as all the days. It includes dark days and light days, blue days and bright days, hard days and easy days, stormy days and peaceful days, workdays and vacation days, busy days and rest days, winter days and summer days, Sundays, and Mondays, and Tuesdays, and all days—every moment until the end of the pilgrimage. Goodness and Mercy never take a vacation. You may take a vacation, but Goodness and Mercy will even then pursue you.

Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay down my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God.

Your goodness is running after, it's running after me
With my life laid down, I'm surrendered now
I give You everything
'Cause Your goodness is running after, it keeps running after me

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I'm gonna sing of the goodness (and mercy) of God!

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