If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
On Worshipful Wednesdays, we take a look at God’s word and His kingdom to see what we can learn about ourselves, Him and/or our relationships with Him.
A visiting teacher in our Sunday School class is doing a three-week study on the 23rd Psalm. You may have learned that psalm as a young child, like I did. Anyhow, as our teacher talked about the first couple of verses, I was drawn to the last verse, which says in the New American Standard Version, Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Other versions says Surely goodness and mercy . . . I really think “mercy” conveys a more specific meaning than “lovingkindness,” but that’s not really my point here.
When I read this last verse, I was reminded of a sermon I heard 25 or 30 years ago. The preacher was a dear man named Jesse McElreath, who was pastor of Lake Country Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
They’ve dropped “Baptist” from the name since then, but at that time it was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, Jesse at one time held a pretty high-up position in that denomination’s headquarters in Nashville. I don’t know if the denomination dropped the church or the church dropped the denomination, but I suspect there was a little too much hand-raising, dancing, healing and deliverance going on there to suit the Southern Baptists.
Anyhow, Jesse was stressing three things we can depend on from this psalm: mercy, goodness, and surely. I thought, Say what? “Surely” is not a noun. It’s not an attribute like goodness and mercy. What’s this man talking about?
But the more he talked, and the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him that surely is a quality we can depend on from God, just as are goodness and mercy. His point was that we can be certain of God’s ability and faithfulness to fulfill His promises. SURELY!!
It was a novel way of getting a point across, but I still remember it over a quarter of a century later, just as if it were yesterday. We don’t have to wonder with God. If we accept His Son as our Savior, our eternal destiny is assured. Sealed. Forever. SURELY.
Have a New Testament passage or concept you’d like to see discussed here? Maybe something you’ve never quite understood. I’d love to hear from you about that, too. I’ll try my best to explain it.
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Love that promise and I always loved Dr. McElreath’s teaching!
Yes, I always thought of him more as a teacher than a preacher. Thanks, Lynn.