26 November 2012

pastures and valleys [part IV]

Villa dei tre camini
{image credit: Il Medo}
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

"surely": the psalmist is certain about what he says. Why? Because his trust is founded on the host's character.

"goodness and mercy": things only God can give perfectly. Thing we all long for, and that are going to comfort and protect us in the valleys.

"will follow me": I love how personal God's care is. He doesn't just follow the church in general, or a family, or a nation. He follows me. And I love, too, the focus on the future here. What comfort for an anxious heart-- he will be there! Also, the act of following shows a kind of dogged loyalty. We're not going to escape the shepherd because he has pledged himself to us.

"all the days of my life": no exceptions. I never realized how absolute the claims of this psalm are.

"the house": something established. A place of welcome. And if it's the house of the Lord, it will be a grand dwelling. I think of a mansion, a villa, a temple.

"the Lord": the first time he has been called by name since verse 1. The psalmist is reminding us who the shepherd really is.

"I will dwell": the journey is over, but life is not. Dwelling is an active, living thing, a state of conscious bliss. Something to look forward to! And it is the ultimate fulfillment of all the pastures and waters and tables where we've rested along the way.

"forever": without ceasing. "No one will snatch them out of my hand."

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