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)
The Lord says, “Listen to me, those of you who try to live right and follow the Lord. Look at the rock from which you were cut; look at the stone quarry from which you were dug.” (Isaiah 51:1)
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)
Following isn’t a Simon-Says kind of following. It’s not like following a lead car, requiring a bit of attention but not having to process of where you’re going and other details. Following in these verses takes on a much richer meaning. As is often the case, our English translation of a Hebrew word or phrase seems insufficient. This word, radaph, means to run after or chase.
Consider the direction of chasing going on in these verses (and there are dozens more I could add). In Psalm 23:6, God with his goodness and mercy is chasing us. In Isaiah 51:1, God is directing us to chase after him. And in Proverbs 21:21, we are chasing God through his righteousness and kindness.
We don’t just mimic God and follow his guidelines. We intently pursue him. Yes, he is with us at all times as we yield to him, but he doesn’t just want our yielding and obedience, he wants our passionate pursuit. He wants our responsive longing. He wants us. He sets the standard by pursuing us. He chases us even when we don’t realize it or ignore him.
If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep. (Matthew 18:12)
God pursues us.
Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Give me my share of the property.’ So the father divided the property between his two sons. Then the younger son gathered up all that was his and traveled far away to another country. There he wasted his money in foolish living. After he had spent everything, a time came when there was no food anywhere in the country, and the son was poor and hungry. So he got a job with one of the citizens there who sent the son into the fields to feed pigs. The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he realized what he was doing, he thought, ‘All of my father’s servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger. I will leave and return to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants.”’ So the son left and went to his father. While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him. (Luke 15:11-20, emphasis added)
God chases us. He runs toward us. He runs after us. And he wants us to run toward him, run after him.
We’re all chasing something and someone. Some of us are chasing what the world says is important.
It is better to see what you have than to want more. Wanting more is useless— like chasing the wind. (Ecclesiastes 6:9)
Or you can choose God. You can follow Jesus. Just remember, choosing to follow Jesus isn’t as simple as calling yourself a Christ-follower. It’s about being a Christ-chaser.