Sunday Morning Reflections ~ Psalm 23:6

Most Sunday’s, early morning, I do a Sunday cartoons for my [this] site. One particular cartoonist I follow and have enjoyed over the years is retiring and starting a business venture using his talents. I was perusing his portfolio and found this gem tucked away… it is a quick visual of Psalm 23:

I love this verse tucked away in Psalm 23:6:

Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
as long as I live.


Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

(The Message)

This verse is a promise that God (Christ) chases after His own, those who were given to Him (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4-5; John 17:6-26, …etc.). He will finish the good work He started in them (Philippians 1:6):

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.


There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

(The Message)

I don’t know about you, but God chased me to the end of my rope (via an obedient Sheriff in super-max at Wayside). And He is doing “Yeoman’s Work,” as, I am owned by Him (Acts 20:28), and, it is work (a cultivation, John 15:5) only He can accomplish.  CS Lewis touches on this when he wrote:

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words ‘compelle intrare,’ compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, AND HIS COMPULSION IS OUR LIBERATION.” (Emphasis added.)

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

REMEMBER ~ the Apostle Paul mentioned the same — many years before — Lewis penned the Chronicles of Narnia:

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry — one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

1Timothy 1:12-16 (HCSB)

Continuing this chasing God does of those that belong to Him. His “sheep”

…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 (HCSB)

A scene that beautifully captures Lewis’ experience is in his The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5). One of the main characters—a boy named Eustace—has developed an evil heart and becomes a dragon. He wants to be a boy again, so Aslan leads him to a pristine fountain of water. Listen to Eustace (and behind him, C.S. Lewis), describe his experience:

The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain. But the lion [Aslan] told me I must undress first.

So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that [the skin on my feet was] all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as it had been before.

[Eustace then repeats the process a second and third time, growing increasingly despairing.]

Then the lion said, ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything, but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.

If you’re feeling God’s pursuit like the “claws” of a lion, know that while it may be painful, it’s not punishment. God never desires to pay you back, but to bring you back. Will you let him?

Between the Times

CS Lewis as well as the Apostle Paul were essentially “chased by God,” and in a lot of ways I was chased as well. As I was writing this and thinking on this miracle that God has wrought in my life as well as others… a friend posted this on FaceBook. And I wish to note that this boy was CHASED by God into a foster-care system and brought into His fold by the Body of Christ (via an obedient uncle and aunt). You see, Christopher Duffley was one of those given to Jesus — set-aside — by the Father, and God will finish the good work (salvation) in him:

I will end with this very personal insight into why Philippians 1:6 is a favorite of the much missed J. Vernon McGee:

Because this is my life verse and therefore very meaningful to me, I hope you won’t mind if I tell you about it. I was a very poor boy when I went away to college. My dad had been killed in an accident in a cotton gin when I was fourteen years old. My mother took my sister and me to Nashville, Tennessee. I had to get a permit that allowed a boy of fourteen to go to work, and I worked for a wholesale hardware concern. I had to be up by five o’clock in the morning to pick up the mail and have it sorted and on the desks of all the officials in each department. I should have been in school, and I wanted to go to school. Later I had the privilege of going back to school because a wonderful friend acted as a father to me. He had a son who was a drunkard. He had wanted his son to get a college education, but he didn’t; so the man helped me get a job, and I was able to go to college. Every year I thought it would be my last year. I never thought God would see me through—I had very little faith. The last year I was in college was during the depression; 1928 and 1929 were bad years. I couldn’t get a job and had no money.

On graduation day, after receiving my degree, I returned to my room in the dormitory, still in my cap and gown, and sat dejectedly on the edge of my bed. My roommate came and asked, “What in the world—did somebody die?” I said, “Just as well to. I thought God had called me to the ministry. I’m through college, the depression has hit, and I don’t even have a job for this summer. I haven’t a dime to go to seminary next year.” While we were still talking, the phone rang. It was for me. On the other end of the line was a dear little lady who asked me to stop by her home where she lived with her sister. They were both widows, and they looked as if they had come out of the antebellum days. They attended the church where I taught a class of intermediate boys, and I herded the boys into the church service every Sunday morning. The sisters sat in the pew behind us, and I always thought they disapproved. But in their home that day each handed me an envelope in memory of her husband. I left as soon as it was polite to go, hurried around the corner, and opened the envelopes. The first contained a check for $250; I hurriedly opened the other envelope and found another check for $250. Do you know what $500 was like during the depression? I felt like a millionaire!

That night the Sunday school had a banquet for me, a farewell banquet, and they gave me a check for $100. So now I had $600! That is the money with which I went to seminary the next year. That night at the banquet someone gave me this verse: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” That has been my life verse ever since that night.

Now let’s consider this verse for a moment.

“Being confident” is causative and could be translated, “Since I am confident of this very thing”—Paul knew what he was talking about.

“He which hath begun … will perform.” The word for “perform” means to carry through. He will consummate what He began.

“Until the day of Jesus Christ.” You and I today are not living in the Day of the Lord; we are not living in the day of the Old Testament; we are not living in the day of the Millennium; we are not living in the day of eternity; we are living in the day of Jesus Christ. That day will be consummated when He comes to take His own out of this world. And the Holy Spirit has sealed you and me until the day of redemption. Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). And until then, you can count upon God to consummate whatever He intends for you. He is going to see it through. How wonderful!

Now, my friend, let me ask you this: Is this practical for you and me? I don’t know what your circumstances are, but if you are a child of God, I am sure you can testify that God has brought you up to the present moment, hasn’t He? Can’t you look back over your life and see how He has led you and provided for you? Then why should you be concerned about tomorrow? Do you think He is going to let you down now? I confess that this was my thinking when I finished college.

You see, I went through college, but I didn’t enjoy it as I should have. I never had joy because I always was afraid I couldn’t go on. I just didn’t believe God would see me through. So many times we Christians act like unbelievers. In fact, we live and act like practical atheists. The graduation was a happy experience for my classmates. I could see those rich kids being hugged by their parents. No one was there to throw their arms around me, but it wouldn’t have made any difference if there had been a whole delegation of well-wishers, because I thought I was through. I felt called to the ministry, but there was no possible way for me to go on to seminary. However, I had a wonderful heavenly Father who, through Philippians 1:6, put His arms around me and said, “I’ll see you through.”

And I want to testify today that He is still keeping His promise. It has been a comfort to me since I have had several bouts with cancer to know that my heavenly Father said, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” He is a good Doctor also; in fact, He is the Great Physician, and He has said, “Whatever I have in store for you, I’m going to see you through until the day of Jesus Christ.” So I am in His hands.

This is a great verse of Scripture. Oh, I have held onto this during many a dark night when the storm outside was beating against my little bark. My, how wonderful to have a heavenly Father like this!

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 292–293.