Summary: A different look at the last verse of Psalm 23
The Hounds of Heaven
Ok. It’s time to break down some fairy tales. Did you know that the Disney version of The Little Mermaid is an adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson story? Actually, it is a perversion of it.
The Little Mermaid is an example of how Hollywood prefers a happy ending. For example, Hans Christian Andersen’s classic "The Little Mermaid" ends with a tragic, noble sacrifice in which the Mermaid must see her beloved Prince marry another girl—but in the Disney version, the Mermaid does get to marry her Prince and live with him happily ever after. Oh, the travesty of perverting classic literature in the name of Hollywood entertainment!!!!!!
But we like a happy ending. We want our hero and heroine to live happily ever after—because we want to live happily ever after. So I took this investigation a step further. I googled “Happily Ever After” – it said, “look at Happy Ending”.
A happy ending is an ending of the plot of a work of fiction in which almost everything turns out for the best for the hero or heroine, their sidekicks, and almost everyone except the villains.
In storylines where the protagonists are in physical danger, a happy ending would mainly consist in their surviving and successfully concluding their quest or mission; where there is no physical danger.
A happy ending is epitomized in the standard fairy tale ending phrase, "happily ever after" or "and they lived happily ever after." The presence of a happy ending is one of the key points that distinguishes melodrama from tragedy. In certain periods, the endings of traditional tragedies such as Macbeth or Oedipus Rex, in which most of the major characters end up dead, disfigured, or discountenanced, have been actively disliked. A happy ending only requires that the main characters be all right.
And so, as we look at Psalm 23, verse 6 gives us that happy ending! But it is more than just “we get to live happily ever after.” There is so much more.
As we look at this last verse, I want to break it down into individual words. I want to carefully look at what these individual words mean and how they relate to the whole psalm. Don’t just tack on a trite statement like “we want to dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. It MEANS much more than that.
Look at the word “Surely” …it is an exclamation of confidence.
There is one area where the believer can have perfect confidence: that God’s grace will keep holding onto you until you get to heaven. When the events of life seem totally disastrous, “SURELY” is the statement of confident faith in God that He will get us through this dark valley and into the house of the Lord. When life hurts, God’s constant mercy and goodness reminds me that I’m in the care of the shepherd. Surely says that in spite of all the things that make me doubt and wonder, God does not change.
Christ said (in John 6:37) “All that the Father gives to me SHALL COME TO ME…” Surely, my salvation is secure because (as John 10:28 says) “My Father who gave them to me is greater than all and no man is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” So, even if this path really ends in death, vs. 6 reminds us that God’s unfailing grace takes us to heaven. He’s not just walking with us, He’d holding on to us... and taking us to His home in heaven./
This is more than a psalm of comfort—it is a psalm of confidence. It is a psalm of trust and faith.
Like Job said, I know that my redeemer lives
Like Abraham said, I know that God will provide a lamb
Like Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-Nego said, “We know that God can deliver us.
Like Paul said, I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I’ve committed to Him against that day.
Like John said, “I am writing these things so that you can know you have eternal life.”
When you get tired, remember “Surely,” and have confidence that God will keep His promises.
Look at the word “Follow”. Follow is really the word “PURUSE.” It is not just that God’s goodness and mercy follow us around and they are there if we need them. They pursue us—YOU’VE GOT A STALKER!!!!! This Hebrew word is almost always used of an enemy pursuing someone or a hunter or chasing someone.
In contrast with the enemies that were pursuing David, he remembers that God’s mercy pursues him, too.
So what would it mean to have God’s mercy pursuing you? We’ll get to that in a minute.
Look at the words “Goodness and Mercy”