We finish up our look at Psalm 23 by focusing on the last verse of this beautiful psalm: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v.6).
The Psalmist (most likely King David) has reflected on his life and come to a much deeper understanding of what life in God means. In the final verse of his great psalm he says, “Not only have I been richly blessed in this life, I also believe that I shall dwell in the presence of the Lord forever!” Now forever is an awfully long time, but the Psalmist can come to no other conclusion.
Dr. Oswald Hoffman who was the voice of The Lutheran Hour for many years, was once asked, “What is the difference between Christianity and all the other religions of the world.” He replied, “Jesus lives!” He then went on to share the story of a devout, old fisherman who, when he was physically able, walked fourteen miles to church each Sunday. One Sunday there was a terrible storm and the old man arrived at the church very late. In fact, he was so late that all he heard was the final phrase of the pastor’s benediction. “The Lord be with you, now and forevermore.”
This fisherman’s friends gathered around him after the service to say how sorry they were that he had missed 99% of the service after his long walk. But he shook off their sadness and said, “Disappointed? Never! It is worth walking twenty-eight miles just to hear those words: “The Lord be with you, now and forevermore.”
When Jesus announced his final words from the cross: “It is finished,” the people interpreted that to mean that Jesus was giving up his struggle for life and succumbing to the forever of death. Little did they know that what Jesus was really declaring was the fulfillment of God’s promise to be faithful to his sheep into eternity.
To protect us forever, Jesus went to he cross and died for us, and his announcement that “It is finished,” was not the final words from Jesus, only the last words of a chapter.
Three days later, a new chapter began and what a beautiful chapter it was and still is! Because of Jesus’ victory over death we can all say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Thanks be to God!
~ Blessings, Dan