“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)
The Good Shepherd gives His sheep a home forever. Our Shepherd is not just a worker who takes care of the sheep 9 to 5. He is not a hired hand that will punch out at the end of the day and go home. Neither are we off on a farm somewhere and the shepherd checks on us periodically. We are in His house! Our Shepherd has brought us into His home and we are with Him! The Hebrew word here describes more than a building in a neighborhood. It is more than four walls and a front door. It carries a much more intimate meaning than that. This word is used when speaking about family and belonging.
David has saved the the best for last. He ends this beautiful Psalm with the most precious and comforting thought. All of the verses lead up to the reality that we are part of the family. As His sheep we belong to Him. This goes beyond just meeting needs. It is more than feeding, grooming and protecting the sheep. In fact, we are not actually sheep are we?
We are not just animals to our Father. As believers we are family. This is talking about relationships. It is about being loved and loving back. Fellowship with the Father is about being blessed and being a blessing. There is receiving and giving. It is saying, “I am now a part of the family”. This meets the deepest need we have as human beings…the need to “belong”. To know that you are part of a nurturing family is important to God.
Family has been the DNA of humanity since the Garden of Eden. God said that it was not good for man to be alone and created family. The family is the thread in the fabric of our world. It was true then and is still true today. God created us for fellowship with Him and with a family. David gives this description of God in another Psalm,
“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:5,6)
In this world that has been broken by sin, many families have failed to provide this and so many are lonely searching for a place to belong. This is what Psalm 23 promises. No matter how alone you feel…no matter how lost you may think you are…there is a place for you in the home of the Good Shepherd. The truth is that you are invited to come in! It is where you are meant to live! You were made to live in His home and to be a part of His family. He will take care of you and meet you greatest need…the need to belong.
This is the message of the cross. He has made it possible for us to come home. Our sins are forgiven and God calls us to come home. We can come into His presence today as part of His family and experience fellowship…right where we belong.