Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
I belong to a Presbyterian Women’s Circle at my church in Fernandina: the Lydia Circle. We are the only Circle here that meets in the evening. We don’t wear name tags or take minutes. We don’t have a secretary, a treasurer or a historian. We’re not very good at remembering to contribute to PW mission initiatives. But we always enjoy lively conversation, heartfelt prayers and serious Bible study…with our glass of wine (thus, our unofficial name: Wine, Women and the Word!)
For the past few months, we’ve been studying the Psalms using one of the Interpretation Bible Studies. Psalm 23 is the Revised Common Lectionary psalm for the fourth Sunday in Lent. In the chapter on this psalm, the author points out that the Hebrew word in verse 6, “radaph,” can be translated as “pursue” rather than “follow.” In fact, one concordance notes that “pursue” is used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible, while “follow” shows up only 18 times.
The Psalm 23 is beloved and one of the most widely known passages of the Bible. I memorized it in kindergarten and could recite it long before I understood it. Decades later, I’m still trying to understand it! These verses have become so familiar to us that we often don’t stop to consider each word on its own merit.
Would your image of God change if you understood God to be graciously, lovingly and tirelessly pursuing you each and every day of your life? I’m grateful that the God we worship isn’t waiting until we have our act together to seek us out. I’m thankful that God still pursues us daily, especially during this Lenten season, as we pursue Jesus on his way to the cross.
Praise be to you, O God, our shepherd and host: protecting us, providing for us and pursuing us with steadfast love and forgiveness. May we dwell in your awesome presence forever. Amen.