Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Hound of Heaven

Psalm 23 was penned at a time in David's life when he
was 'penned' in and helpless. His son, Absalom, had
taken the throne so David was forced to flee for his life
into the desert. No grass, no quiet waters, but there was
the deepest valley without light or end. David was not
even sure if it was not because of his sin that events
had gone south. It was a terrible time; one of the worst
for this king. Alone and forlorn David writes:

'The Lord is my shepherd...
Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house 
of the Lord forever.'

SURELY: a solid word that can be translated as
'ONLY.' this and nothing else
GOODNESS: in the widest sense, beautiful, favor, glad,
merry, welfare, joyful kindness, loving, bountiful favor.
LOVING KINDNESS: strong affection toward,
tender regard.

In this verse God is the initiator. You are His prize.
This is the way God is.
He is only goodness and loving kindness toward you
Nothing depends on your good behavior.

Let me write it out for you:
'Surely or only His goodness--bountiful favor--and
loving kindness--strong affection, tender regard--
shall follow me--pursue me--through all my days
and His presence shall be my dwelling place forever.'

Reader--this verse has been getting into my very soul
over the past few days. The writer was in a very
difficult place but he did not write words of despair
and self-pity. He did not make silly statements:
'God does not love me.'
'God has forgotten me.'
'God is is angry with me.'
David does so in other psalms he wrote but not this
one. Perhaps it was because David had walked so
closely to God for many years. The king recognized
God's bountiful favor, strong affection for him, His
ongoing pursuit--the hound of heaven-- no matter what
and the delight of His presence!

If you want to dig deeper into this verse, check out this
video and watch how Malcolm Smith unpacks it. I only
hit the highlights.

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