Surely Goodness & Mercy… Stop Calling Me Shirley!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6

Every time I read this verse, 2 things always come to mind. One is of substance, the other is amusing. Let’s start with the amusing…

I heard the story of a woman who had twin girls and this verse was the inspiration for their names. She named her girls:

1} “Shirley Goodness”
2} “Anne Mercy”


Now on to more substantial things…

Several days ago I proposed that disciples need to be pursuing God with determination, like one army chasing another army (Psalm 63). But did you know that God also chases us down? When David says that goodness and mercy shall follow him all the days of his life, he is speaking of the LORD who chases us down. The Hebrew word for follow is the same word used in Psalm 63:8 where David says he pursues/chases God. Here, in Psalm 23, it is God doing the chasing! God pursues His people! We might expect David’s enemies {v.5} to be chasing him down. But instead, God’s mercy and goodness pursue David. Here we have a beautiful picture of the LORD pursuing the people He loves.

Look over your shoulder today. God is pursuing you!

Thankful for His relentless goodness and mercy,


About Benji Magness

Known in many circles as 'Rabbi', Ben-jamin is an artist and pastor who can often be seen with a scruffy beard, drinking Starbucks, listening to reggae, wearing black, changing a diaper or reading backwards. His name in Hebrew means "son of the right hand"- which ironically is the hand he would use to paint, draw or even type for this blog if he ever found the time to do so.


One thought on “Surely Goodness & Mercy… Stop Calling Me Shirley!

  1. There is a so-called Calvinism among us that is a religion of conditional promises, not “surely”‘s (Future Grace, passim). Calvin spoke against and refuted the attempt to make people’s justification conditional in the Institutes III.17.6 and following.

    In that religion, which often is thought of as Calvinism by the unwary, there is no “surely” for anyone alive. Its proponent tells high school students that their eternal destiny is at stake when they fall into lust (FG, p. 330). One of its proponents thinks that Matthew 5 means “if you don’t fight lust, you won’t go to heaven” (p. 331).

    There is no “surely” in that religion. There is a “maybe” — i.e., a ‘maybe goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, if I do this and that. If I do this and that, it surely will. If I don’t, the threat of hell will follow me until I do.’

    And this religion doesn’t just single-out lust, but any failures, for the same treatment. It is not Psalm 23’s promise.

    Posted by larnewman | August 24, 2011, 7:33 am

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