Pat Propster: The shepherd is always good and provides insight
You may have heard the saying “God is good,” which is followed by a response that says, “All the time.” Then the speaker says “All the time,” and the responders would say, “God is good.” Noah Webster 1828, on the subject of God’s goodness: “the qualities of God which constitute value, excellence or perfection; benevolence; benignity (kindness) of heart; but more generally, acts of kindness; charity; mercy; compassion.”
Considering the setting of the 23 Psalm, it’s describing a shepherd tending a flock in the midst of all kinds of surroundings. Yet, the shepherd is always good. He provides oversight, insight and care for his flock.
There are times that we consider our surroundings as something more than that which our Good Shepherd is capable of seeing us through, or even worse, that He is oblivious of. And the horrible outcome of that is that we base our whole walk on surroundings circumstances and emotions, instead of assurance, hope and truth. The Shepherd sees to the want, He brings us into places of peace that we might rest, He guides us to quiet waters which restores our soul, and He guides, which leads us to paths of righteousness, if we choose to follow.
When we accompany this great and Good Shepherd, we shall not want. Even though we walk through dark valleys, even in the shadow of death. Fear is wiped away because of His Divine presence. His rod of protection against the foe and his staff of guidance comforts. The Psalm even says that He prepares tables of plenty, even before the eyes of the enemy, and if that weren’t enough He anoints our heads with oil.
In verse five of this wonderful Psalm it speaks about an overflowing cup, and it’s overflowing because of the Shepherd’s goodness. The Psalmist is sure that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life. The Psalmist also says “will” for the second time, this time saying “I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.”
What hopeful writings, what a wonderful poem and song. When we fix our eyes on this Shepherd, this Author, this Perfecter of our faith, goodness and kindness following us! I heard it put in the terms of a hunter, a pursuit, that this follow is a pursuit of, which would be a concentrated effort with a desire and necessity to catch.
In every sense of the word locked on locating and even overtaking … can you imagine His vision, keenly aware of our moves? His ears tuned in to every step, listening to every sound, following us all the days of our life? Until it would result in the zeroing in for the eternal goal to which we are called upward in Christ Jesus.
“The eyes of The Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV. A second thought occurred, that the word followed could also be something that is lingering, left behind, or created a wake. So goodness and mercy following all the days of our life is something that we leave as an effect because of the goodness of this Great Shepherd. Either way the goodness of the Shepherd evidenced by those who follow Him.
God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good! Be responsible with His goodness, be generous with it, purpose to share it. Blessings to each.
Pat Propster is the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Carson City Christian Fellowship.