goodness and loving kindness shall follow me
The great pitcher Satchel Paige often said “Don’t look back—something might
be gaining on you.”
That doesn't sound like Klingon advice to me. Few would disagree that the straightforward Klingon response to pursuit is to stand one's ground and eliminate trouble before it sneaks up on you!
But these words from Psalm 23 involve a different kind of pursuit; and mark a return in this shepherd's psalm to the picture of God's care as shepherding us, his flock.
Among the tools of a shepherd are herd dogs. We see that God's are QaQ (goodness) and loving kindness - a word not translated in the current revision of the KLV. This word, "Hesed" in Hebrew, is rendered in English translations as 'mercy' or 'loving kindness' and means a deep kind of "covenant faithfulness." The Klingon term batlh (honor) comes to mind as a good translation.
We are pursued by God. His dogs nudge us along the good path and direct us to follow the honorable road - and we will, if only we don't turn on these hounds that are just there to lead us along the best way.
What are these dogs? Or ... who?
In my life, I can picture a whole pack - perhaps you can think of a few in yours. I can see them - friends, family and maybe even strangers who only passed briefly through my orbit. Each one stood as an example, or a reminder of how I might more closely follow God.
And that is the real pursuit we need to consider: God's sheep dogs are there to nudge us on a pursuit of own. If you wonder what that might be, well, the last words that Jesus speaks in John's Gospel spell it out clearly - no matter what language you use:
You follow me.
Originally podcast 5/2/2005