“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people, henceforth and for ever. ” Evan Satan, the father of liars, sometimes tells the truth. “Hast thou not made an hedge about him,” said Satan, concerning Job.
The sheep of God are hedged about by the Shepherd’s loving care. He leads the way, while “goodness and mercy” bring up the rear. It has been suggested that “goodness and mercy” represent two faithful dogs who follow at the heels of the sheep, thus protecting them from the rear. Some speak of “goodness and mercy” as angels of God who guard the sheep from rear attacks while the Shepherd leads them onward. The latter thought is not a far-fetched fancy, for the same writer says, “The angel of the Lord campeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Ps. 34:7.
Goodness and mercy are always near in the paths of righteousness, and in the time of great need they are obviously manifest. Moses followed the Lord up rugged Sinai. There the Lord stood with His faithful servant in the shadows, and said, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” David said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. ” Paul speaks of the riches of God’s goodness.
David had much to say about the mercy of God. “I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. ” Ps. 52:8. “Thy mercy is great above the heavens.” Ps. 108:4. “The earth is full of Thy mercy. Ps. 119:64. Hosea admonishes men to “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy. Paul speaks of God as “The Father of mercy, ” and of His being “rich in mercy.”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me. ” There Is another reason why we can be sure of goodness and mercy following us. Our Lord said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. We may also say, “Blessed are the good, for they shall obtain goodness. This is an eternal law — the law of “sowing and reaping.” What we measure to others is measured back to us. The paths of righteousness include both passive and active righteousness — being good and doing good. Such deeds of goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives — coming back to us in the same measure, but with big interest — “heaped up and running over.” “Oh, how great is Thy goodness, which Thou has laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man; Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” Ps. 31:19, 20.
“Yet Thou in Thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also Thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not Thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.” Nehemiah 9:19, 20.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
— Annie Johnson Flint —