At five years old I sat on the top bunk bed of my babysitter’s home memorizing Psalm 23.
My babysitter was a middle aged woman named Mrs. Friesner, a godly woman who loved Jesus and loved me. During my “nap time/quiet time” she told me to go over the words to Psalm 23 so I could recite them back to her. I could barely read at the time. She told me if I would memorize these words, the Lord would give me peace when I was afraid. And as a five year old who lived in a very unstable home, where yelling and throwing things was the norm, I believed her. So I was intent on committing Psalm 23 to memory.
So when I came to the last verse of the passage, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” well……let’s just say living in God’s house seemed so attractive to me. And in my 5 year old mind, I would love to have this nice lady Shirley Goodness and her husband, Mercy, follow me around! They would protect me and bring me to the house of the Lord. Shirley Goodness and her husband, Mercy became imaginary people to me!
So this past week as I stood with thousands of people called Southern Baptists singing Psalm 23 led by Shane and Shane…….the images of Mrs. Shirley Goodness and Mercy came to mind.
When David wrote Psalm 23 he was living in the Valley of Elah………a pretty harsh place, mostly desert.
Just recently I had stood in the Valley of Elah with a small group of believers. My husband sang this Psalm to the Lord with his hands lifted as a prayer to the Lord. (picture above)
David wrote this psalm as he was being chased by his enemies.
We have so many enemies today……….mine are fear and anxiety. We have friends in another part of the world whose enemies are people……evil people ready to kill them in an instant, rape their daughters and wives or enslave their children.
Some may read verse 6 and say well, God is not doing a very good job lately of allowing Shirley Goodness and Mercy to follow his people. (i.e.….the senseless murders in Charleston, SC )
Yet, I believe as those precious 9 people worshipped and studied God’s word they were led by Goodness and Mercy right to the throne room of the living God and they are now dwelling in the house of the Lord forever and ever. I believe as their enemy entered that church building that a table was prepared for them and their heads were anointed with oil. If our world has any hope of a spiritual awakening we must truly believe His words and live His words. May this senseless act push all of us to show others goodness and mercy!
I truly believe when we as believers begin to show others God’s mercy and goodness, even when it is undeserved, that a movement of His Spirit will be unleashed in our world.
Who are your enemies today? Psalm 23 maybe very familiar to you, yet His words are so very, very powerful. Mrs. Shirley Goodness and Mr. Mercy…….well they do follow me……and they are continually leading me to dwell..to abide in the house of the Lord……in Him.
I challenge you to spend sometime today meditating and praying through Psalm 23. You may just meet Shirley Goodness and her husband, Mercy! And then make sure you introduce them to someone else!