The Confidence of the Sheep

Tim Trumper

READ : Psalm 23

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6a NKJV)

“Dogs are man’s best friend,” so the saying goes. I’ve been blessed by a number of them: Lucy, Gelert, Coco, Beau, Kellem, and, currently, Worcester (eight months old today!). These dogs have all been great friends to me, but better yet are the psalmist’s “Goodness” and “Mercy.” They’re the Lord’s two sheep dogs bringing up the rear of his flock.

Goodness is the Lord’s love outpoured in blessings: spiritual, practical, economic, and aesthetic. Goodness hints at the sensation of love. Mercy refers to the Lord’s steadfast covenant love and speaks of his commitment to his sheep. Our humanness ensures we need the Lord’s goodness; our sinfulness, his mercy. Goodness provides, and mercy pardons.

While we keep our eyes on the Shepherd and follow tight on his heels, it’s comforting to know that goodness and mercy are always behind. In their own ways they keep us from straying and ensure we stick to the Shepherd’s path that leads us all the way home. Unlike Worcester, they will be with me all the days of my life—intensively: everyday, extensively: lifelong. Why is it then that we persist in fearing and fretting?

PRAYER

Lord, I praise you for yourself and for making yourself known through your goodness and mercy shown us in Christ. Amen.