God Loves to Tailgate
Do you find tailgating irritating? It can be comforting. Here’s what I’m trying to say. The book of Psalms begins the word ‘blessed.’ This word choice is significant. In fact, the words ‘blessed’ and ‘blessing’ are repeated 111 times in the Psalms. God wants to bless you. If I said, “Do you believe that?” I’m guessing that most of you would agree, but you believe it in your head. You aren’t sure if you believe it in your heart.
In Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” is a psalm we all know. But the psalm concludes with an even more powerful picture: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Does that ring a bell? You might remember that a memory verse. This is the blessing of God. The word ‘follow’ isn’t strong enough; it doesn’t capture the Hebrew language in this instance because the word ‘follow’ is a hunting term. ‘Follow in this context, usually means hunting to kill something, and it can mean “bloody avenger,” but this is the only place where this verb and this noun are combined and coupled together in Scripture. God is hunting you down, but not for any wrong intent. God is hunting you down to bless you. Surely goodness and mercy are hunting you and following you and tracking you.
I want to make sure you get the picture. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Fort Collins, Colorado hanging out with some friends. We went to Estes Park and we had to take this winding route. We needed two vehicles because we both have lots of kids, so long story short, Lora and her friend Sue, the two moms were driving in front and I was driving with Scott. Scott was driving and I was in the passenger seat and he drove me crazy! I’ll tell you why, because I have a pet peeve. If you are following someone and they are the ones who know how to get wherever you’re going, then go ahead and follow them. This is where you don’t want ten or twenty or thirty car lengths in between, follow them! I’m not pretending that I’m completely sanctified and that road rage is completely eliminated from my life, but after we’d lost them 12 times already, I’m like, ‘Scott!” So here’s the deal, if you’re following me and we’re going someplace, you follow me! You challenge me to pick up speed and to make the red light! It’s just a thing with me.
I say that to say this – when it says “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” we’re not talking about 20 car lengths! We are talking about God tailgating us, bumper to bumper, honking, like, “Hey I want to bless you! Let me do it!” That is the nature of God. And you need to understand that God wants to bless you.
We talk a lot about original sin, but before that original sin, there was an original lie that was told to Eve. The serpent said, “Are you sure God said don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?” And the implication in the question was that God is holding out on you; that God is withholding something from you and maybe his intentions are not all good all the time. That original lie led to original sin. That’s why if within your heart, you don’t believe with every part of your being that God wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed, then you are believing the original lie. His desire to bless you is far beyond your desire and your ability to be blessed.
The word ‘blessed’ is plural, and that’s unique. It is multidimensional. The most straightforward translation of the word ‘blessed’ is happy. I believe God wants us to be happy. The challenge is that we have our own formula for happiness and that usually doesn’t work out the way we planned. We must follow God’s prescription, and God wants you to be happy.
Finally, the word ‘favor’ and I pray for favor more than I pray for anything else. In every part of my life, I pray for my kids, Luke 2:52: “…may they grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man.” So I pray favor on my children all the time. I ask for God’s favor all the time, because favor is God doing for us something we cannot do for ourselves. And the greatest joy in life is when you can’t take credit for the things that are happening in your life because they are blessings from God. They are the favor of God.
Taken from “Words of Blessing” from the series “Words” by Mark Batterson, National Community Church.