There is No Place Like Home
Have you ever read to Psalm 23 in your Bible study and thought, I have read this passage so many times and commented to yourself, I wonder if there is anything God can show me I have not already heard or read? Well, I would have to raise my hand. I have thought that and I have said that several times before reading the passage. I am guilty. However, today I chose to read the verses as if I had never read them before and the Lord did something yet again in my messed up heart and mind.
Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
When David wrote this Psalm he was older and he had walked through a lot of stuff in his life. He fought bears and lions, he fought Goliath, he had run from Saul, he run from Absalom, his son, and he failed God miserably in his life. He was an old man who knew what it meant to need the Shepherd. He had seen tragedies and he had faced disappointments, but he realized that the Good Shepherd gives to His children more than they deserve.
Have you ever been given something and you didn’t deserve it? The Good Shepherd does this for me all the time. He gives me provision, peace, protection, providence, presence and paradise, but He also will give those things to you as well. David knew that God was with him in green pastures, beside him in still waters, before him at the table, behind him with goodness and mercy, beyond him preparing a heavenly home and with him always as the Good Shepherd. David was given more than he deserved. So have I.
Third and fourth-graders at Wheaton Christian Grammar School were asked to complete the following sentence: "By faith, I know that God is . . .
"forgiving, because he forgave in the Bible, and he forgave me when I went in the road on my bike without one of my parents" (Amanda)
"providingful, because he dropped manna for Moses and the people, and he gave my dad a job" (Brandon)
"caring, because he made the blind man see, and he made me catch a very fast line drive that could have hurt me. He probably sent an angel down" (Paul)
"merciful, because my brother has been nice to me for a year" (Jeremy)
"faithful, because the school bill came, and my mom didn't know how we were going to pay for it. Two minutes later, my dad called, and he just got a bonus check. My mom was in tears" (anonymous)
"sweet, because he gave me a dog. God tells me not to do things that are bad. I need someone like that" (Hannah).
He is so much more than we deserve.
Psalm 23:6 says, “. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
I took notice of the word, surely. My messed up mind immediately goes to the famous movie line, “Don’t call me Shirley.” But this is used in verse six in a whole different way. Surely is used to emphasize a speaker's firm and intensive belief that what they are saying is true and often they are surprised if there is doubt from those listening.
When reading this verse, you may feel that David’s “surely” is too good to be true. No, God is too much too good not to be true. He is good – as good as we’re capable of imagining Him to be. His goodness follows us.
David also says, God’s love follows us as well. God’s Word is filled with affirmations of God’s love, especially the Psalms. Psalm 13:5, 31:7, 86:5, 136 a total of 25 times.
David’s word for tender love means a deep emotion rather than a duty. It’s a kind and gentle love. The quaint word, lovingkindness, may be the best translation of the word. However, we define I, I know that I do not deserve it.
God’s nature is love and David knew this. His love is sacrificial, selfless, extravagant and beyond our wildest expectations. Any doubt of this? Then look to the old-rugged cross where God gave His Son to die on behalf of sinful messed up humanity. He gave us the opportunity to accept Him and gain eternal life, which we do not deserve. I am very thankful for His love. It is stimulated by His character and not by our goodness.
There is a lot of truth packed in verse six found in Psalm 23. David said, “I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” There is something very comforting in those words. “Home”. Does that word do for you what it does for me? There is something about home that is magnetic. I go on vacation and stay for a while, but I love to get back home. David closes with a mighty crescendo when he declares this verse to his readers.
Look at the verse again closely, “and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” The word “and” is a connecting word in this closing statement by David. It connects all of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows. God says, “I’ve got this great life planned for you and surely goodness and mercy are going to follow you through it, but that is not the end. I’ve got a crescendo to add to it.
The word dwell means to settle down and be at home with. The word house means being a part of God’s family in His presence. The word forever means just that, forever. David is saying to all of us in his old age, “I don’t want to ever step away from God. I have seen what He can do. I want to be in His presence and in His awareness, wherever He is.
If you could ask God for one thing, what would you ask? David tells us what he desires. He says, I want to dwell in God’s house. I don’t want to visit, I don’t want to sip on coffee and shoot the breeze, I want to move in and live with Him forever.
Today, reading Psalm 23 was like reading the passage for the first time. I am so glad the Lord is my Shepherd. I am truly thankful He renews my strength. He is my security and He helps me to not be afraid. He feeds me and He protects me. He walks with me in the dark times. Yes, I am truly thankful.
But I am so glad for His goodness and mercy, which are with me each and every day. One day I am going home. I will be able to see all of those who have gone before me especially my daughter, but most of all I will be so glad to see my Savior. I will live at home with Him forever. There is definitely no place like home.