“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the 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 shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23)
Yesterday we were reminded of a blessed truth: God knows who you are and where you have been and He has always loved you and loves you now!
This unconditional and unmerited love does not come to us despite our sins, but for the forgiveness of our sinful condition. Our sin had separated us from our Father who loved us. God did not come to make us lovable. He came to restore that which He loved already to a place of fellowship with Him. He came to seek and save that which He loved and was lost.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” – Jesus (Luke 15:4)
Today, I want to us to think about the other side of this relationship that is implied in the simple word I have highlighted in today’s reading of the Psalm…“Surely”. This small word in the Hebrew is only two simple characters, but it has a big meaning.
First, it points us back into the Psalm and what we have learned about our Shepherd. It is what we might translate as, “So, of course, based upon what we know about this Shepherd…”
What a wonderful thought! God not only knows us, but He has made Himself known to us! You can know Him! He has revealed Himself through the Scriptures and, most clearly, through Jesus. Yes, He knows you and loves you, but do you know Him? Do you know who He is? Do you know what kind of God He is? If He is the Shepherd that is described in the first five verses of this Psalm (and He is), then you can say with assurance…”Surely”.
This word has a deeper meaning as well in the Psalms of David. It also means “only” or “exclusively”. So, here in this Psalm David is reminding us that our God will only bring us goodness and mercy and that it comes from Him alone. Only God is good and only God is good all the time. There is no other. There is no other Shepherd who we can find hope and security! There is no other God who can save us! Lets look at another Psalm of David to clarify,
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my salvation…for God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my Rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-6)
Do you hear the confidence that David has in the knowledge of his God. I have highlighted where the same small Hebrew word is used which is in our Psalm 23. Is this the God you know? The God who loves you just the way you are and wants the best for you and His glory? You can know Him and you can experience this assurance that His “goodness and mercy will follow”. In a recent joint worship with another congregation a song was sung, “You can’t make me doubt Him”. It rings in my ears this morning as I write these words of encouragement to you. The song says,
“You can’t make me doubt Him because I know Him too much about Him.”
Do you know Him today?