The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.Psalm 23:1–6 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
It’s a beloved passage. Many have it memorized as it brings comfort in stressful times.
Have you actually pondered the ideas in the last verse?
There is a hymn we sing called “Surely Goodness and Mercy.” It is this last line of this Psalm. The religion of the verse drives an important point.
Goodness and mercy shall follow me.
We get that language from the King James Version. The word shall hints at a deeper meaning of the Hebrew word it is translated from to form the verb shall follow. The Hebrew root is radaph. It is translated correctly.
But let us look in another version of the Bible that may add some higher definition.
Surely goodness and loyal love will pursue me all the days of my life,Psalm 23:6 — The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012)
and I will stay in the house of Yahweh
for a very long time.
Yes, the word can be translated as pursue, here. Other meanings include chase and persecute.
This goodness and mercy of God doesn’t ever give up. It is always there, chasing and persecuting us… Forever.