Psalm 23 is a Better Psalm Than You Thought It Was

Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved psalms in the entire Psalter; many of us have memorized it in the King James Version as children, and its truths undergird us as we walk through “the valley of the shadow of death.” The last verse is often remembered: “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Unfortunately, the word “follow” is usually understood in a weak sense, as in, “Goodness and lovingkindness will be back there throughout my life, I’ll know God’s goodness and love in the midst of my suffering.”

The Hebrew is much stronger. The verb is the verb radaph, which means “to pursue.” It is most often used of enemies pursuing their foes with hostility. What David is saying then, is that God’s goodness and lovingkindness will hunt him down, will “follow” him in the sense of a police stakeout; they are on his trail! The irony and wonder of this psalm is that it isn’t our enemies chasing us down, but it is God Himself who chases down His people whom He loves. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and the steadfastness of Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 3:5).



One response to this post.

  1. Thank u son — another wonderful insight I can meditate on in my sadness to redirect me to HIM


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