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)

The Shepherd Psalm (6)
The Heavenly Hope—Many Abodes

The last verse of the Shepherd Psalm opens with the word “surely.” It can also be translated as “only,” which essentially means the same thing. This answers to the New Testament “verily” (assuredly, truly) that we often read coming from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a divine verity—there can be no doubt as to the certainty that “goodness and mercy” will follow the believer to the very end of his course. The goodness of God is a matter of grace; we receive blessings which we don’t deserve. The mercy of God is more that we are spared from the trouble that we do deserve. The two are like twin companions that accompany us throughout our pilgrimage.

Next, David brings before us our eternal dwelling place. We may wonder how much an Old Testament saint really understood about this subject because much more light was brought to us about the afterlife in the New Testament. Paul wrote that the death of Christ has “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). But David was writing under the inspiration of the Spirit, and as a prophet, he looked far beyond what was generally perceived in his day by his contemporaries.

The house of the Lord forever! In John 14:1-3 we read that on the very night in which Christ was arrested He took time to calm the troubled hearts of His disciples. The events which were about to unfold would potentially unsettle them and severely try them. He comforted them by assuring them that although He was going away, it was to prepare a “place” for them. He affirmed the reality and hope of heaven—the “many abodes” of the Father’s house (Jn. 14:2 jnd). And not only this, but He was personally going to come back and take them there!

Brian Reynolds