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 (ESV)
Feasts that were given in ancient days were usually held at night in rooms that were filled with light. The people who were not invited to the feasts were labeled as “cast out of the lighted room into outer darkness.” Orientals have a great dread for the darkness and in the East a light is usually kept burning all night. Jesus, being aware of this fear, chose his words wisely when he used the expression “outer darkness” when speaking of those people who would not be allowed to inherit the kingdom (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). These people will not be allowed to attend the feast (Matthew 25:1-13) and will suffer eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). David realized, however, that God, his Good Shepherd, was chasing after him with only goodness and mercy.
Our Good Shepherd does the same for us. God is not after us to do us harm. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). All of us like sheep had gone astray, but on the cross, in his quest to show us goodness and mercy, God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). God is no longer angry with us because Christ absorbed his wrath toward us on the cross (Romans 5:9). But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-5 ESV)
God sought us out at the cross and is still “running us down” to show us only goodness and mercy. David wrote that God has an abundance of goodness stored up for those who fear him (Psalm 31:19) and that God has crowned those who fear him with mercy (Psalm 103:4). We have been made a part of God’s family (house, Hebrews 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5); he has planted us there (Psalm 92:13) and he allows us to feast on his abundance (Psalms 36:8). God will show us only goodness and mercy as long as we live.
We will be a part of God’s family forever (John 10:29). We have an eternal home in heaven. Paul wrote, For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV) Jesus said, Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:1-3 ESV).
God has not left us in outer darkness, he has invited us to his feast. The banquet hall is well lit because Jesus is the light (John 8:12). For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV) And when we pass from this life to the next, another great feast awaits us (Revelation 19:9) in a place where there will be no need for the sun or moon for the glory of God gives it light and the lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).
Where will you spend eternity; in darkness or light?
Scriptures for meditation:
Psalm 27:4; 65:4