My infant grandson, Theo, has become a favorite part of my day. We have some routines that I take him through that involves talking, snuggling and tickling on the floor during our daily play time. I put my face close to his, he likes to rub his fingers against my beard and smile at me, and then he begins to “talk” to me. He doesn’t do this with anyone else, its our special thing. In fact, he is quite unsure of other bearded faces, but mine he knows and trusts.
He’s not afraid of me, he knows me well. He knows that papa knows what he fusses about and can usually fix it. He has come to anticipate my next move, like when I come to kiss his neck, he giggles before I start. It’s a little itchy, but he knows papa will be gentle. In fact, he usually, turns his neck repeatedly to encourage papa to do it again. That constant and repeated trustworthy behavior makes it easy for him to trust me. Day after day, he has seen enough to be sure and know, that I will love and protect him, and he enjoys our time together.
David had seen enough to be sure too. He’d seen the highs of following God and seen the challenges. He’d experienced them personally. One thing he knew for sure, that no matter which he faced, he was never alone. In fact, time after time he was reminded, from His own experiences with God, that while he may not have been faithful, God is always faithful.
So as he closes out this 23rd Psalm, with confidence he proclaims a few final truths as a reminder, a comfort to himself, and hopefully us as well.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
No doubt, it was settled in his mind, solidified by experience, that throughout each and every remaining day on earth, we can count on God’s goodness and His mercy. Through the darkness hope arose. Through the trials faith was strengthened. In spite of our failures and misdeeds, our lack of faith and our weakness, He has been good. He has withheld what we deserved, and He gives us far better. And we can count on this as long as we live on this earth.
But there’s more… when this life is done, we actually have even more to look forward to. Moving into His own house. Not only can we look forward to His loving care, kindness and protection on earth, but those of us who know Him through a personal walk through faith in Jesus Christ can look forward to eternity with Him.
He is a Shepherd, however good, but He is far more. He is our Father! A Father that has known us our entire life, like no earthly father (or papa) ever could. When we are tempted to give in to fear or doubt we need to be reminded of this Shepherd, our Father, who has been faithfully by our side leading us through life, even if we didn’t acknowledge His presence He was right there. And always will be!
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
President / CEO