Psalm 23: 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If you have ever been recruited to join a team, a company, or some organization, you were likely given many promises. In fact, there is probably a strong correlation between how badly they wanted you, and the number and magnitude of promises you received. This will ring familiar to any gifted high school athlete. Recruiting colleges generally have very slick recruiting visits set up for both athletes and their parents in which coaches, administrators and fellow athletes show them the sites, sit them down and make many promises to the recruit. Having spoken to many athletes and parents, and heard many stories, we were very fortunate with our son as the recruiting colleges didn’t make outlandish promises (it probably helped that we did significant research ahead of time, and pared the list down considerably). Other athletes were less fortunate. “Please understand ma’am, school will be the first priority for your daughter. We will give her all the scholastic support she needs to excel.” Or perhaps you heard: “We’re going to take you to the top son. There is no doubt in our mind that you are going to leave this place as the greatest guard that’s ever played here”. Often promises are related to health. “Sir, your daughter’s health is our first concern. If she is injured, she will be given the time to rest her body. Her well-being is our first concern.”
There are plenty of promises made during recruiting that are legitimate, and the promiser has every intention of fulfilling them (those are the coaches you want). There are others that are at best unwise, and at worst, purposely deceiving. People make promises they have no business making, for nothing more than selfish reasons. “I will do WHATEVER it takes to get this recruit. If it takes a little white lie, so be it.”
We find that God makes many promises in the Bible (I’ve read that there are as many as 3500 plus). Today, I would like to talk about the promises to which King David clung. Psalm 23 is one of the best-known Psalms. David speaks of the Lord as his shepherd, the one who cares for him, who provides for him and gives him comfort. He concludes this scripture with: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23: 6). What I found intriguing here is less so what he felt God was promising him, than what he does not mention. You will never hear David say: “the Lord has promised me no trials, no pain, no heartache”. That would be an utter lie. David experienced all of that, over an over in his life. But even in that, God promised him goodness and love. The word translated as “love” is the Greek checed which can also mean “merciful”. For this reason many translations say: “surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me”. David certainly experienced God’s love through his mercy, especially after his sin with Bathsheba.
An honest, good coach will speak the truth when recruiting. A wise Christian will speak the truth when evangelizing non-believers or when mentoring young Christians. When I mentor, I don’t promise a life free of pain, hardship, and tears. In fact, I generally promise that life will be filled with those things. But like David, I can promise that if you accept Christ as your savior and you choose to follow him wholeheartedly, God’s goodness and his mercy will follow you, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord for all eternity.