The twenty third psalm is perhaps the most known of all the psalms in the bible. Besides being a short psalm, (though not the shortest) it is also very easy to memorise. My three year-old son has already committed it to memory. It is the psalm that most of us kept open under our pillows in boarding school. The sixth verse of this psalm has also become the extension of the “Grace”, a prayer which is often recited at some point during or at the end of a church service. And it is a psalm whose benefits can never be exhausted.

Sometime ago, I was led to meditate on the sixth verse of this psalm and I thought I would be done in a few hours, but alas three days went by and I was still at it. There is phenomenal power in meditation and especially meditation on the word of God.  The verse starts with the word “Surely”; this immediately tells me that there is an assurance of certainty in what will follow. But before going further, I began to toss that back and forth. To be certain means to NOT be in doubt. To be certain means probability is not an option. To be certain means it is a done deal. It means it is settled. What is this thing that is already settled? This something that is a done deal? I needed to know what this thing was so I went further. It says: “Goodness and Mercy shall follow me”. When I got there, I came to a screeching halt! Just two words down the verse and I could go no further. I needed to unpack goodness. I have heard a lot of people recite the psalm and say: “God’s goodness” but the King James Version says “goodness”, so I stick with goodness. Can anything be good and it is not of God? We have been told that He makes even things that are not good to work for our good. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8: 28 NLT  Then what is goodness? Goodness is excellence, favour, generosity, kindness, love and help along the way; goodness is the absence of wickedness and evil; goodness is abundance, health, plenty, provision and so much more. I charge us to think through all that represents goodness to us and to be reassured without any doubt that they shall follow us. Then what is mercy? There are a few definitions of mercy and it is alright to go with whatever suits our need. I am going with the Merriam Webster definition that says mercy is a fortunate circumstance. This means I am already in a great place because with every assurance of certainty all misfortune or anything unfortunate will never be around me. The matter is settled.

Moving on, I came to shall. I stopped there. One word but very powerful! Shall is a word a speaker uses to express their confidence that a thing will happen. Therefore anytime I am set to move, to go, to be in motion about anything, or just merrily going on my way, I am certainly not going alone because every goodness is going along with me. Now it does not say that when I stop or am sleeping or resting or just sitting down that goodness and mercy will leave me. No they do not leave me. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to follow means: “to move behind someone or something and go where he, she, or it goes”. Two of the synonyms for follow are chase and pursue. In a nutshell we must know it is a settled matter that as long as we live, good and pleasant things will always be with us wherever we go.

Dear friends, we have a choice to make a conscious effort to see the goodness around us and to know that without any doubt and with confidence: every shade, shape and size of things that are good, pleasant and fortunate are with us. They pursue us going with us wherever we go. It follows from there then that we cannot dwell anywhere else but in the house of the LORD. The house of the LORD is not a physical location. It is a safe place we make for ourselves where we find peace and joy, where we know we are loved regardless of what is going on around us. It is where we can lie down in green pastures, where we are refreshed and restored. It is a place where we are not afraid. It is a place where we are satisfied. That place is in The Word Of God. When we fill our minds with the Word of God, there is no room there for negativity.