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How God’s Goodness and Mercy Follow You

I Didn’t Get It

In the last verse of Psalm 23 David says “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

For years I didn’t get it.  I pictured me walking through my day — and maybe 50 yards behind me God’s goodness and mercy were following.

How is that good news?

A Crucial Hebrew Word

But then I learned something crucial about that word “follow.”

It’s the Hebrew word radaph — which means “to pursue, to set off after someone in order to catch him.”

So God’s goodness and mercy do not follow 50 yards behind me every day — they are pursuing me in order to catch me every day.

It’s like you were speeding and now a police car is following you with its red light on — it’s following you in order to catch you and give you a ticket.

That’s what God does — except when He catches you He does not give you a ticket — He gives you even more of His goodness and mercy.

A Powerful Promise

Faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

Here God promises that He will pursue you in order to catch you with His goodness and mercy — and He will do this every single day of your life.

So what does this mean?

  • No matter how far from God you feel — He is always pursuing you with goodness and mercy to change your heart and strengthen your faith.  Fight the fight of faith.  He will meet you.
  • Every interruption is God bringing you His goodness and mercy.  Submit your plans to Him, and ask Him what He wants to do for you.
  • Every trial is a gift of God’s goodness and mercy.  You will either see His mercy delivering you from the trial, or satisfying and comforting you in the trial.
  • In every hard task God is pursuing you with His goodness and mercy — He will help you, guide you, surprise you, and satisfy you.
  • Whenever you sin, God is pursuing you with goodness and mercy to forgive you, cleanse you, and restore you.  Confess your sin.  Repent before Him.  Receive all He has for you.
  • Whenever you feel inadequate, God is pursuing you with goodness and mercy to give you everything you need to do all He calls you to do.  Turn to Him.  Ask Him for help.  Watch what He does.

How Does This Help You?

I’d love to hear how this encourages you, or if this raises questions or comments.  Feel free to leave a reply below.  Thanks.

Do you know someone who would be encouraged by reading this?  Email it to them using the “share” button below — or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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(Picture is by happidog at stock xchng.)

Category: God's Promises


29 Responses

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    This is really interesting.

    To visualize being pursued by God’s goodness and mercy as if you were chased by a police car (haha!) – I do notice that you are very humorous, Steve.

    And this is a real sparkling idea. Whoever wants to resist such a loving pursuer in the longer term? It was already in the beginning of the Old Covenant that the Hebrews were followed by their spiritual Rock (‘Christ’) – not yet in a car – who nurtured and imbued them spiritually (1 Cor 10:3-4). How comforting that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebs 13:8)

    Thank you very much for the illuminating translation of “radaph” and for your funny illustration “with its red light on” – you made me chuckle.

    May the Lord keep on catching and chasing you every day of your life without ceasing.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks again for your thoughts, Susanne. I appreciate your feedback and encouragement.

      May the Lord richly bless you today!

  2. Charles Balfour says:

    Thank you, Steve, for the image of the police car and for reminding us how God’s grace and goodness actively seeks us and others to bless our lives and to make us a blessing. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who never gives up on us no matter how resistent we Saul..who became Paul. I believe that we are pursued by the goodness and mercy of God, but also that a life shepherded well by Christ does leave in its wake a legacy of goodness and mercy that continues to bless others long after that person dies. The example and life of the saints down through the ages continue to be such a tremendous way that God blesses us. By using our God given gifts we can also leave behind treasures for our descendants and the church. I am blessed to compose music and I know that when I die some of the pieces of music that I have made will continue to bless the worship of Christians through the ages. The Hebrew word “radaph” is indeed well translated “pursue”, but it also has good news for us when it is translated “follow”. I am grateful to people like yourself who have helped me to appreciate the richness of this part of Psalm 23. Thank you. Sincerely, Charles

  3. Nomthandazo says:

    I am so full of praises for this website. Thank you Steve I don’t know how I ended up here but I believe God today wanted me to know that He pursues me everyday.

    Thank Lord for your servants, I pray Lord that you will continue to fill them to bless us so that we can also be blessings to whomever we meet.

    Thank you very much.

  4. Anita (Switzerland) says:

    Thanks for this teaching. It is really enlightening (Psalm 119:130). May God’s police always catch us.
    Blessings, Anita

  5. Joe says:

    was really blessed by this application of goodness and mercy pursuing me heard the same principle in a joseph prince video today

  6. Terrell Tillman says:

    I was up studying at 4am about being followed by goodness and mercy (love) and was asking God to show me a simple way to better understand it and he lead me to this blog. The illustration about the police made it very plan and simple for me. Was truely blessed by it and forever will be. May God continue to Bless You with more wonderful ways to make passages more plan.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Terrell,

      It does my heart good to hear that this post was helpful for you. Thanks for letting me know — and may the Lord continue to pursue you with His goodness and mercy.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  7. Thapelo Lyn Butale says:

    I am awake at this point of time (03:25hrs) and when i woke up i had ‘goodness and mercy’ in my mind,i went straight to google and it led me to this site. How blessed is me for getting to understand this perspective more than i ever thought i did. It is now clear to me what this really mean, (haha),i think i always put it in that scenario of a police car following me. i am grateful for the word Steve,God continue showering you with His blessings.

  8. Tammy says:

    I was asking for an understanding of goodness and mercy following me and was led to this. As Anita says above, may God’s police catch us!

  9. Moses says:

    Thank’s Steve. I woke up this morning and the thought of understanding the meaning of the goodness and mercy of God occured to me. And so I started searching on google and got your blog.

    I like your explaining of it (the police car). Very simple illustration but a good one. Let me add that since the police goes in twos when on duty, the two SPIRITUAL POLICE that GOD sends to follow us most be Goodness and Mercy by name.

    May I ask– What does “the joy of your salvation” in psalm 51 mean?

    May God continue to guide you in your work and walk of Faith.


  10. Mia says:

    Thank you for this word. While I’ve come to read it late, the power in your words remain. The words and the message that God’s goodness and mercy are in hot pursuit of me even when my circumstances seem bleak are extremely comforting and uplifting.

  11. Jo says:

    I had a dream that expressed this verse. I don’t get it I prayed to God several times, every day almost and asked Him for help. Nothing! Just sadness and pain, hurt and constant rejection all my life and more so after I was born again. I don’t know what and who to trust in church and out. His church has abused me and rejected me. I am not going to church anymore… and I don’t trust God much anymore because He continue to allow the devil to attack me… ‘Even in His church’, and I don’t see Him doing anything to stop it all. Just promises!

  12. Cathy says:

    I was praying that I receive the goodness of The Lord and wanted to really understand the prayer and I was led to this page. Indeed I now understand and God bless you for the easy lay out to understand.

  13. Erica says:

    God reminded me later night while in meditation.. surely goodness and mercy will follow me…. I wanted to understand meaning of goodness and mercy. I was lead here and I now can see… thank you and may God continue to bless you for being obedient.

  14. Adenike says:

    Was wondering what I could hold on to to confirm God’s promises in the situation I was passing through, then he told me that his goodness and mercy shall pursue me and overtake me all the days of my life. this is beautiful, comforting and loving. Thank you very much, I am blessed.

  15. Jeremy says:

    i have know about that word purse…but i loved how you brought it together in the end. i hope you are ok with me using your examples as the conclusion to this Sundays message.
    thanks again. Jeremy

  16. Jerry says:

    I was reading the 23rd psalms this morning, and downloaded a screensaver, I started looking up goodness and mercy following me, had no ideal that I was being pursued by goodness and mercy, that gives me a whole new way of looking at that scripture now, thank you and love you demonstration also, bless you everyday JESUS IS LORD.

  17. Ronda Greer says:

    I had 2 dreams. They were pretty much the same, the first one I had two small dogs named Mercy and Grace and they were following me single file in my kitchen. And the second one was the same but the two pets were either cats or small furry animals. Your illustration explains Grace and Mercy very well! Thank you and God bless

  18. Naomi says:

    I was watching this clip from Bethel on u tube:type Nothing Separates Me! Bethel
    It has a short spontaneous piece of worship with exactly the words goodness and mercy are following me, and includes the pursuit idea. I asked God to find an inspired devotional to understand the concept more and here it is. Thankyou.

  19. Tammy says:

    This is just what the Lord was telling me you just simplified it for me,glory to God

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