Back to the 23rd Psalm, to finish out with the last verse:
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
This is maybe the most comforting part of the Psalm, although not quoted as often as earlier parts of the chapter. David, the poet/author was clearly quite certain that God’s goodness and love would always be with him. Did David live a blameless life? Not even close–he impregnated one of his best friend’s wife and then had the man killed to try to cover it up, among other misdeeds. Was David’s life smooth when he wrote this poem, or afterwards? Nope. First his King (Saul) was trying to kill him; then later in his life, one of his sons tried to kill him and take his throne.
Nevertheless, David found ongoing comfort in God’s goodness and love.
What this means to you and me is that we don’t have to be perfect for God’s love and goodness to remain with us throughout our lives. What great news!
Notice that the promise David points to does not point to an easy life. We will have difficulties in our earthly lives. Instead, the promise is that God’s love and goodness will be with us through every moment, even when it doesn’t feel like it. God will never abandon us. It is we who tend to abandon Him when things aren’t going our way, then we wonder where God is. He waits, patiently watching for us like the father of the prodigal son, and runs to us when we are ready to come back. He never leaves us.
Then, maybe even better, there’s a further confidence from David that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. He doesn’t say, if I live right or dress right or vote right or do anything right, then I will will dwell in the house of the Lord. He is confident that he will dwell there no matter what happens or what he does. God’s message to us by including this in Scripture is that we will dwell with Him in His house forever, regardless of what dumb things we do, so long as we have accepted Jesus as Lord.
This is also incredible news! Life is worth living, of course, but each day fills up with struggles, some worse than others. But eventually, we will all pass through death into the house of the Lord, where we will dwell forever. No more troubles, no more sorrow or pain or hate. Only love, peace, beauty. Better by far than the best church service you’ve ever attended, or mountaintop vista, or cool garden sheltering you from the heat of the day. Only paradise.
I don’t know about you, but the comfort I find in these verse can help me get through any terrible day, especially since it helps me remember the beautiful picture of our ultimate destination. Thank you, God!