The Promise of Pursuit (Psalm 23:6)

by Carolyn Hope

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. (Psalm 23:6)

The word ‘pursue’ in this verse is often translated as ‘follow.’ I used to picture this verse as Jesus leisurely strolling behind me. The picture of pursuit is actually more fitting from the Hebrew word in this phrase. It literally means “to run after, chase, put to flight … hunt.” It’s much more intense than I had interpreted it.

Jesus is a pursuing person. We often accept this truth as regarding our salvation, but this verse isn’t even talking about that. It’s talking about goodness and unfailing love. Jesus’ pursuit goes beyond saving you from sin. He wants to come after you with good things! He wants to catch your heart and lavish love on it! He will chase you down wherever you go, and He won’t stop running until He finds you. He seeks to overwhelm you each and every day with blessings.

Jesus has set His eyes on you, and He will always pursue your heart. God’s love for you is unstoppable and inescapable. He says you’re worth chasing. He says you’re worth pursuing. You are worth seeking after. Enjoy the pursuit of your Shepherd. He is enthralled with you.

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The Promise of Protection (Psalm 23:5)

by Carolyn Hope

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. (Psalm 23:5)

God has a way of surprising us. He loves to do the unexpected. This Psalm describes an interesting scene. There are enemies around David, and instead of fighting them or taking David away from them, God throws a party. It’s as if He ignores that the enemies are there, and He honors David by anointing and blessing him.

Often times, when we find ourselves in uncomfortable places with less-than-pleasant people, our tendency is to flee. We try to find an escape. (If you’re a more introverted person like me, you may want to escape even when you’re around people who are pleasant.) God doesn’t always work that way. Yes, there are times when it is necessary to remove yourself from a perilous situation, and God does provide an escape from danger for His people. Many times, however, His heart is to show up and move in the midst of the surrounding danger.

God may not remove the situation, obstacle, or danger you are faced with. The reason could be that He wants to come through for you in a mighty way. He isn’t threatened by the forces that come against you, and you don’t need to be intimidated by them. You serve a God who is more powerful than your enemies. Jesus is able to pull you out of the challenges you’re dealing with, but He is also able to do something great in the midst of where you are. He may just want to show you off before your enemies as His chosen one. Perhaps your Dad wants to throw you a party in the middle of your struggle. Trust Him to work in the best way for your life. He’ll protect you and give you all you need to conquer each day.

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The Promise of Presence (Psalm 23:4)

by Carolyn Hope

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. (Psalm 23:4)

Sometimes we are faced with difficult and painful situations or even life-threatening circumstances. There are days and seasons in our lives that are dark and uncertain. Even in these times, we don’t have to be afraid. The reason we don’t need to fear is that our Shepherd is close. His presence is enough to calm anxious hearts.

For my first two years of college, I worked as a nanny for three children: a 6-year-old boy and 3-year-old twin girls. I would often pick the girls up from pre-school and take them home in the afternoon. One weekend my car was having some problems, so my grandfather and I took it to a mechanic to get it fixed. The following Monday, I was supposed to pick the girls up, but my car was still at the repair shop. My grandfather offered to drive me to the girls’ school and then drop us off at their house.

Before I walked the girls to the car, I told them about the situation and explained to them that my grandfather would be driving us home. When we got in the car, one of the girls wasn’t bothered by my grandfather, but the other (who is shy around strangers) started to cry. I reached back from the passenger seat and held her hand, and she settled down some and didn’t cry for the rest of the drive.

There’s so much comfort in knowing that the Lord is right beside you. When you are afraid, He is the one who comforts you. He is a fierce protector who shields you from danger, and His perfect love casts out the fear that tries to seize your heart (1 John 4:18). Regardless of what you’re going through, you can rest in the protection and comfort of your Shepherd. He is nearer than you know. He holds you close to His heart. You are His sheep, and He will do whatever it takes to keep you safe.

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The Promise of a Path (Psalm 23:2-3)

by Carolyn Hope

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. (Psalm 23:2-3)

As our Shepherd, Jesus takes good care of us. He ensures that we have the rest we need and He satisfies our thirsty hearts. When we are weak and weary, He refreshes us. He is the one who leads us and guides us, and He never takes us down the wrong road.

Have you ever been driving somewhere with someone, and they give you wrong directions? They tell you to turn right instead of left, or to take the wrong exit off the highway. Then you get lost (or maybe you’re not lost but you feel lost), and usually there’s a sense of frustration that comes along with that.

Jesus won’t ever give you wrong directions. He won’t ever take you the wrong way. Everything He tells you is right. He knows the path that’s best for you. You can trust Him as your Guide, for He won’t ever let you down. As you let Him determine your steps, there’s a peace that comes from not having to find your own way. Walk with your Shepherd; His leading is perfect and enough.

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The Promise of Provision (Psalm 23:1)

by Carolyn Hope

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1)

The opening verse of Psalm 23 is so simple in its statement, yet so deeply impactful. There is a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Here, we find that the first five words of this psalm paint a beautiful picture of the Lord as our Shepherd. All the loving care, protection, guidance, and patience of a shepherd are representative of God in His care for us.

The second part of this verse flows from the first. Since the Lord is our Shepherd, we have all that we need. Sheep don’t have to worry when the Shepherd is around. They don’t have to fend for themselves, find their own food, or decide which path to take. The Shepherd is the source of their protection, provision, and direction. He takes care of their every need.

The Lord is your Shepherd, and He will provide for you. In every area of your life, He will take care of you. Jesus cares for far more than your basic needs – food, clothing, shelter, etc. He cares about the details. When you need a friend, He will bring one. When you need a break from the chaos, He’ll bring peace. Whatever your circumstance, you have a good Shepherd who is waiting to cover you and care for you. Ask Him to provide for you; trust Him to give you what you need. He will.

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A Good Shepherd (Psalm 23)

by Carolyn Hope

Psalm 23 is one of the most famous passages in Scripture. In just six short verses, David describes many powerful promises in beautiful imagery. This psalm is especially comforting in light of the words of Jesus in John 10, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep … I know my own sheep, and they know me …” (verses 11 and 14). We have a Shepherd who loves us and knows us.

There are many promises within this Scripture, but I’d like to bring five of them to you this week. These include provision, protection, and pursuit. As we go through this Psalm verse by verse, I hope you will be encouraged and will see your Shepherd in a new way.

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