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 ESV)
The psalmist has a word of incredible encouragement for all of us today. As we follow the Great Shepherd wherever He leads, even through the valley of the shadow of death, we are being followed every step of the way by both goodness and mercy.
These two supernatural sentinels form our rear guard and meet us in our deepest place of need as we travel through this life into the next. Like two guardian angels who have been sent to minister to us when we need it most, goodness and mercy meet us right where we are and gently guide us to where God wants us to be.
Goodness supplies our needs for the journey, making sure that every one of our needs is met. Please notice that I said needs, not “wants.” We don’t always get what we want, but we always get exactly what we need. God, in His infinite goodness and grace, has promised to supply all our needs in Christ Jesus. Whether it is manna from heaven or water from a rock, the goodness of God sustains and strengthens us.
Once our needs have been met by goodness, mercy steps in and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. God’s mercy—not our merit—blots out our sins. It was mercy that brought Jesus out of heaven and into this world. It was mercy that received our scourging, our crown of thorns, our nine-inch nails, our cross, and our death. Mercy met us when we were far off and brought us back into the loving presence of our good God. To know that goodness and mercy are following us all the days of our lives is to know enough!
But remember, it is only to the degree that we are closely following our Good Shepherd that we will sense the presence of goodness and mercy following us. If we feel distant from goodness and mercy, we can be sure that we have taken our eyes off of Jesus. So follow your Shepherd-Savior closely; keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, regardless of where He is leading you, and you will be confident that you are being followed by goodness and mercy all the way into glory.
“Follow and followed” is the formula of the faithful.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!