“Surely goodness, mercy, and unfailing love 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 David’s unquenchable faith? What gives him the assurance that all the blessings he has described in Psalm 23 will be experienced “all the days of his life” and “forever?”
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 the Good 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 that he is a sheep and the Lord is his Shepherd. It is the Shepherd Who makes David lie down by green pastures and 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 extraordinary ability as a warrior. His confidence is clearly in the Good Shepherd. As David walks through this scary valley, he looks to God for protection and provision. He knows God will personally anoint him with oil and keep that cup running over within him.
The source of David’s confident faith is also expressed in this hymn, “I Sought the Lord,” 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, Psalm 23 Sheep Talk