Pursued by Love – Psalm 23:6

Posted by on Oct 28, 2019 in News | Comments Off on Pursued by Love – Psalm 23:6

Pursued by Love – Psalm 23:6

For the very first blog on the Knockbracken website I thought it might be appropriate to be reminded of God’s grace. There are few better places in the Bible to go to study this than the cherished twenty-third psalm.
The goodness and mercy spoken of in Psalm 23 verse 6 has been explained by some as two sheepdogs rounding up and following the flock. The original text of this poem, however, uses a very picturesque verb – it signifies pursuit, and can even mean persecute.
Perhaps it for this reason that the earliest Greek translation of the Bible, known as the Septuagint, translates the Hebrew verb by a term that is used in the New Testament to describe the actions of the Saul of Tarsus – he hounded out the Christians, dragged them from their homes, threw them into gaol and would not let them escape.
It is for these reasons, I suggest, that a better way to picture the goodness and mercy in this psalm is to see them not as sheepdogs but as hounddogs in pursuit. Like the same way bloodhounds chase foxes, goodness and mercy track the scent of God’s sheep, and follow hard the LORD’s flock, until they find them out, to overtake them with love.
Perhaps rather than bloodhounds, a friendly labrador is closer to the mark – when these dogs overtake us, they practically lick us to death with divine love, so that there is no place, time or circumstance in the life of true believers, when saints are out-of-sight, or beyond the reach, of the goodness and mercy of God.
Goodness and mercy are probably to be taken together as a single idea – God’s good mercy or the LORD’s merciful goodness. The phrase sums up all the Covenant blessing of God, promised in the Old Testament, and purchased by Christ’s blood.
So whether we walk in sickness, sorrow or suffering, or emerge from dark valleys into bright, open, sunny meadows, we never can escape God’s hot pursuit of love.
I guess we can see this as the Old Testament’s own version of what the New Testsment states in slightly different terms in Romans chapter 8 – nothing and nowhere can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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