“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
What is the basis of the unquenchable faith of David? What gives him the assurance that all the blessings he described in Psalm 23 will be experienced all the days of his life?
The word Selah, found frequently in the Psalms of David, can be interpreted: “Pause and calmly think about that.” If we pause and calmly think about it, we realize that all through Psalm 23 David presents his Shepherd as the great Initiator of their relationship.
It is the Shepherd Who gets David’s attention then makes him lie down and say, “baa,” confessing he is a sheep and the Lord is his Shepherd. It is the Shepherd Who makes David lie down where green pastures are and then leads him beside still waters. It is the Shepherd Who uses His staff when David strays from Him, and drives him into paths of righteousness that restore his soul.
As David walks through the valley of the shadow of death, his confidence is not in his own ability as a warrior to see himself through that valley. His confidence is clearly in his Shepherd. David is looking to God for his protection and provision.
The source of David’s confident faith is clearly seen in the way the New Jerusalem Bible translates this verse: “Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.” It is also expressed in the words of the hymn, “I Sought the Lord,” written by George McDonald.
“I find, I walk, I love, but Oh the whole of love
Is but my answer, Lord to Thee.
For You were long beforehand with my soul.
Always, you have loved me.”
Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk