David concludes this Psalm by making a statement of complete and ultimate satisfaction. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” He has absolutely no desire to change his current status – a sheep, under the watchful care and control of the Good Shepherd.” Even in times of trouble, turmoil, danger and distress; even when his behavior warranted otherwise, the Shepherd remained steadfast in His love, care, and provision. Besides, goodness and mercy follow him all the days of his life. What a comforting reality! No wonder he brags on God.
The psalmist uses the word “house” in a much broader sense than most realize. Normally, we think of the house of the Lord as the sanctuary, synagogue, or even the mosque pictured above. A place of prayer and worship. We should keep in mind, however, that David is writing from the point of view of sheep in the presence of their shepherd.
He treks the sheepherder’s deliberate care, control, and protection over the course of a complete year of the animal’s life. He documents the flock’s travels over green pastures, besides still waters, through mountain valleys and on mountain top tablelands. This has not been a peaceful journey, but one where danger, lack, sickness, disease and even death were looming. Only the presence, protection, and care of the shepherd made them feel safe. Only in his presence is there freedom from fear and calamity.
In our daily lives as believers, an ever awareness of His presence is essential. Our desire should be to be led by The Good Shepherd in every aspect of our lives, moving in harmony with Him and seeking direction in even the smallest things. As Keller puts it, living with the “habitual awareness of Christ within me empowers me to live a noble and richly rewarding life in cooperation with Him.” (paraphrased)
The awareness of God all around us can best me encapsulated by the hymnist Austin C. Miles when he wrote:
"...And he walks with me, and he talks with me And he tells me that I am his own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, None other has ever known."
Keller, W. Phillip. A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1970. 2007