Are you skeptical of God’s goodness? Most people are, at least sometimes. We all have our scripts as to how we want to see our lives work out: our kid’s happy and marrying well; having enough resources to live on both now and even after we possibly might retire; getting that sought after job; sustaining or possibly restoring that fragile relationship; surviving a health scare that imperiled us or someone we care for. Would those things generate a “praise the Lord” from our lips?
Let’s be sober and honest about this “goodness” thing. God isn’t good because he does good things for us. God is good because of something in Him. God and His choices remain good, even when they may not look or feel particularly good to you or me. He can be nothing else but good. In fact, He is good not just to those who choose to love Him but also to those who don’t. God lavishes His goodness on humankind as an expression of His love and an invitation to respond to His grace. King David spoke in Psalm 145 about generations passing on stories of the acts and splendor of God. He says “They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow in anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”(Emphasis mine)
Psalm 107 begins with the words “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” and recounts God’s repeated deliverances of the (undeserving) people of Israel. Has God been responsible for repeated “deliverances” and “interventions” in your life? I would suggest you take inventory of the many “saves” and benevolent coincidences you have experienced and consider the attention of a sovereign God. James 1:17 reminds us “every good gift is from above.”
Though we may find some of the Old Testament writing and judgments of God a mite perplexing and even scary, they had their purpose in forming and conditioning a forgetful and headstrong people that God would use to establish and promote His kingdom work. Probably the finest example of God illustrating His divine and good character is in the person of His son, Jesus. In Jesus we see the flesh and blood expression of love and goodness, setting aside the royal privileges of immortality and heaven and taking on the burden of human flesh, weakness and death so that He could reconcile to God people like you and me who were still sinners and rebellious to God. (Phil. 2:5-11; Rom. 5:8)
What bigger way could God show His goodness to you and me? Knowing with absolute certainty at our core that God is good can encourage us towards great steps of faith. God is not like anyone or anything we will ever know, except perhaps from the understanding we have through the life of Jesus. (That is why reading the gospels is so essential!) It is unlikely that any of us will face the trials Job faced to give us an example of one man’s trust in a good God. After the calamities God permitted to befall Job, after his wife goading Job to “curse God and die,” and in the midst of critical interrogations and accusations by Job’s “friends” to enlighten him that he got what he deserved, Job says about God “though He may slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15)
We know from reading the close of Job that God restored and blessed Job beyond what he possessed and enjoyed prior to the disasters. But what if God didn’t? Would you still consider God to be good? Think About It.