Jump Start # 3447
Psalms 23:6 ”Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I have been doing quite a bit of teaching about shepherding or leadership lately. It’s one of my favorite topics. It is wonderful to see the light bulbs come on in the thinking of others and see their eyes light up with excitement about how they can do things. Ideas and concepts begin to flow and these things just energize a congregation and it’s the first steps towards generational changes that are healthy and Biblical.
Psalms 23 is one of the key passages that I focus upon. The Shepherd led. The Shepherd knew where to go. The Shepherd was actively involved. The Shepherd understood when the sheep needed to lie down. And, even in those dark canyons that they had to travel through, the Shepherd was right there. He never left them. Powerful lessons can be drawn from all of this.
But, I haven’t given much attention to how this chapter ends, our verse today. Goodness and lovingkindness follow the one who follows the Shepherd. It’s like going on a walk and your dog is just steps behind you. Now, for a lot of people, it trouble, heartache and bad news that seems to follow them. Some simply go from one crisis to the next. Some are always in a mess. They are just one dollar from collapsing financially. They are just one step from getting arrested. They are just one more warning from losing their jobs. And, when they look back over their shoulders, trouble is right there. Trouble follows them.
It’s this way because of who they are following. When you follow others, you’ll be in trouble. When you listen to Satan, you are certain to have sorrows. When you follow your own nose, you’ll not get very far. Maybe this is why the Hebrew writer tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Following the Shepherd will invite goodness and lovingkindness to tag along with you.
There are three words as this verse and chapter ends that I want to look at with you.
First, is Dwell. I will Dwell. For the shepherd and sheep that moved about from pasture to pasture, the idea of dwelling must have brought a rich, warm feeling to their hearts. No more moving about. No more looking for water. Dwell. That carries the idea of residence. The Colossians were told to let the word of Christ richly dwell within our hearts. There comes a time when what we highlight in our Bibles becomes written on our hearts. Dwelling. Staying put. Home. Finished. Completed.
There is nothing like home. I love traveling but nothing is like sitting in my own chair, sleeping on my own pillow and drinking from my own cup.
Second, in the house of the Lord. This is where the dwelling takes place. It’s not in my house. It’s not in your house. It’s in God’s house. Again, for a shepherd and sheep who spent most nights outdoors, facing cold nights, rain and wind, dwelling in a house is something they could hardly believe. And, it’s God’s house. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…”
I’ve been to all kinds of homes. It doesn’t take very long to look around and you can tell what the residents are interested in. I’ve seen quilts hanging from the walls. I’ve seen collections of autographed baseballs. I’ve seen old hammers on a wall. I’ve seen photos of family and vacations. All of these decorations were reflections of the owners. It’s what was important to them. Have you wondered what God’s house would look like? It’ll be clean. It’s pure. It’s holy. Those are the qualities of God. I wouldn’t be surprised to find names written on the walls. Names of His people. Names we have read from our Bibles. Names of people we have worshipped with. Even our names, wouldn’t that be something!
Third, forever. Dwell in God’s house forever. Put those three words together. Eternity in Heaven. For David, who wrote this, he may have had more of a tabernacle/temple concept. But for us, we see Heaven. It won’t be a walk through like you are on a tour. It’s not a weekend get-a-way. It’s home. It’s our home. It’s where we live. And, it’s forever. No other place to be. No pressing demands elsewhere.
Dwelling in God’s house forever. What a wonderful way to end that chapter. What a wonderful way to end one’s life, not in the cemetery, but dwelling in God’s house forever.