Prepare to Listen. Take time to still your heart and mind then prayer with the psalmist: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Prayerfully Read Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.
‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.’ There are two ways to view being followed by goodness and mercy. The first is what most of us probably think of, that we, as children of God, are followed by God’s goodness and mercy wherever we go. No matter what happens in life—serious illness, destructive storms, political turmoil, climate change, covid-19, unemployment—we can be confident that God’s goodness and mercy follow, indeed surround us. Many of us believe this in our head, but struggle to live it, especially when disaster or tragedy happens to us. With the psalmist, we too can boast that goodness and mercy are right here behind us, even as we also pray for that.
The second way is less familiar to most of us. Goodness and mercy follow us in the sense that, wherever we go we leave goodness and mercy behind us for others to enjoy. According to Phillip Keller in A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, sheep, when properly managed, will leave behind goodness. They can “clean up and restore a piece of ravaged land as no other creature can do.” As sheep of God’s flock, do we?
How can you leave behind you goodness and mercy in today’s world that has changed so drastically for all of us?
Respond to Jesus
Shepherding Lord, I thank you for your goodness and mercy that follows me wherever I go today, no matter what happens. Help me live confidently in this truth. Help me also leave behind me goodness and mercy for others to enjoy and experience today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world as one who is followed by goodness and mercy.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.