August 24, 2021
GOD IS GOOD God is good all the time. Now, some of you may be questioning this in light of recent events: With the Dixie Fire in Northern California now being the largest fire ever in the state of California. With the death and devastation of the Haitian Earthquake last week, over 2100 dead and over 8300 homes having been destroyed. Not to mention the horrific tragedy playing out before our eyes in Afghanistan. You might find it easier to say, “Where is God?”, rather than “God is good.” And yet, if we don’t say it and we don’t believe it, the evil one will have us right where he wants us.
So, I’m going to say it this morning: God is good. Even in a world that seems to be filled with chaos and crisis, sickness and suffering, hatred and violence, God has never stopped being good. How do I know this? Because goodness has its origin in God alone. Only God is good. In fact, Jesus made this clear to us one day, when a man ran up and knelt before him and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.“ Mark 10:18
So, this morning, we’re going to look at God’s goodness. We’re going to take a fresh look at what God’s goodness is, how God is good to all, and how He is especially good to us. For if we are going to bear the fruit of goodness to a world in desperate need of goodness, then we must first go to the source of goodness, learn what His goodness is like, and let His goodness transform us into a people who will bring the fruit of goodness to our world. For if I understand God’s Word correctly: our goodness is found in the goodness of God.
So, let’s begin by looking at the goodness of God. And one of my favorite definitions of God’s goodness comes from A. W. Tozer, who writes, “The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.” A.W. Tozer
God’s inherent nature is goodness. He is not just good, but He is goodness itself. It is His essence. It is His being. He is infinitely good, eternally good, and unchangeably good. He can never be less good than He is. In fact, the original Saxon meaning for God is “The Good.” God is not only the greatest of all beings, but the Best. All the goodness there is in any creature has been imparted from Him, but God’s goodness is underived, for it is the essence of His nature. It’s what makes Him kind. It’s what makes Him merciful. It’s what makes Him full of good will toward men. It’s what makes Him sympathetic and tenderhearted toward us. It’s what makes God predisposed to love us, bless us, and pour out His grace to us beyond measure. And what I love best about God’s goodness is that His goodness is not meant to be contained but poured out in abundance to all God has made. So, let’s look at the unique expressions of God’s goodness to His creation recorded in the Bible. And the first truth we see is this:
God is abundant in goodness: Moses was one of the first people to learn of God’s goodness. When Moses was in the wilderness and asked God to show Him His glory, God answered him and said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ When this took place, Moses told us what he heard, And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,” Exodus 34:6 As God allowed His goodness to pass before Moses, God declared His goodness: His goodness is found in His mercy to rebellious sinners. His goodness is found in His grace to the undeserving. His goodness is seen in His incredible slowness to anger towards injustice and wickedness. And His goodness is experienced in His abundance of blessing to all mankind.
And the one adjective that encompasses all His goodness is this quality of abundance; of generosity. God is an endless, abundant fountain of goodness that cannot be contained. Its this goodness that set the stars in the heavens. It’s this goodness that created the Oceans and every living thing. It’s this goodness that moved God to create you in His image. It’s this goodness that moved Him to call Abram, to bless Him and make Him a blessing to the nations. And it is this goodness that moved God to send His Son to die in our place, so we might have a place with Him in heaven. And His abundance of goodness never changes. God is just as generous today as the day He made every plant, created every bird, and gave us ever creature under the sun, and declared them all to be good. God is abundant in His goodness.
And according to Psalm 145, God is good to all “The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.” Psalm 145:9 He is not just good to every man woman and child, He is good to every living creature: “The eyes of all look to You, and you give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15-16
The psalmist point is that, since God controls all that happens in the world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sunshine, every night’s sleep, every moment of health and safety, and anything and everything else that might sustain and enrich our lives, all that is good – it all comes from Him, and He is good to all.
Think about the abundance of His goodness to us. Everything about our bodies attests to the goodness of our Maker. How suited are our hands to perform the work we need to do to put food on the table? How suited are our eyes to take in the beauty of God’s creation, or to communicate love, disappointment, or joy? How good is it for God to allow us sleep to restore our wearied bodies? And think of all the pleasures God gives us to enjoy. God might have been pleased to satisfy your hunger without giving you such an abundant variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, and breads. He could have been meager in meeting our basic needs. But no, God has given us senses of taste and smell, and an abundance of foods and delights to gratify those senses. How good is it for God to give us soul mates to share this journey, friends and family, and children and grandchildren? God may well have deprived us of so many blessings, comforts, and pleasures – but He’s given us an abundance of blessings to enjoy.
Oh sure, we do experience sickness, suffering, disappointments, broken relationships, loss, fires, pandemics and evil – BUT THE BALANCE OF GOOD in our world far outweighs the bad. God is good to all. And that is why it grieves us so, when evil has its day.
So, I want to encourage you by reminding you of what God says in His promises to always do good to you. God makes two promises to us in Jeremiah 32, as people of the new covenant by virtue of our faith in Jesus Christ. And the first promise is this:
God will not turn from doing you good: If you have been saved by God’s grace through your faith in Jesus Christ, you are already a beneficiary of God’s abundant mercy and grace. So now you can count on the fact that YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE OBJECT of God’s abundant goodness. Listen to God’s promise to those who are in Christ: God says to Jeremiah: I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. Jeremiah 32:40
God promises He will keep on doing good to you. He will keep on doing good and He will never stop doing good for you. Even when things are going “bad” in your life; that does not mean God has stopped doing you good. It simply means He is shifting things around to get them in place to do you more good, if you will go on loving Him. As Paul wrote, He works all things together for good “for those who love Him.” Romans 8:28. And as David wrote: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
However, sometimes the circumstances in your life might make you question God’s goodness. It’s those times when you’re going through a difficult stretch where nothing seems to be going right, or you just lost a loved one, or you’ve just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. At those times, hearing someone quote you the verse: God works all things together for good doesn’t convince you that God wants to keep on doing good for you. At times like the ones I just mentioned, you often feel guite the opposite. You feel as if God doesn’t care or that He’s abandoned you. But that’s precisely why you and I need to cultivate our relationship with God and hold on to the truth that He I always good and will never stop being good to you. For it’s when life throws its worst at us, that’s when we need to trust that we are His, and that we He’s in control. As Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
That’s why we need to BUILD A CONVICTION OF GOD’S GOODNESS regardless of our circumstances. For we do not know when the troubles of this life will hit us. But if you can rest in the truth that God is good to all who love Him, that God will not turn from doing you good, then you will not be shaken when misfortune comes your way.
I like how Theologian James Bryan Smith speaks to this. He says, “God’s goodness is not something I get to decide upon. I am a human being with limited understanding, and as I grow and mature in my walk of faith. I increasingly see how little I understand. In the end, I have the testimony of Jesus to stand on. My own experiences of disappointment with God may say more about me than they do about God. The goodness of God, I now see with greater clarity, is vast and consuming.”
What makes this such a profound statement of the goodness of God, is that these words were birthed, not in the study of a theologian, but in the trenches of grief over the death of his 2-year-old daughter. You see, when his daughter was born, Madeline only weighed a few pounds, had a heart defect, was deaf and could not keep food down. For two years, he and his wife suffered with the sufferings of Madeline. Then shortly after her second birthday, little Madeline’s body finally gave up the fight. During her suffering, however, many well-meaning Christians said some tactless and ignorant things in effort to comfort James and his wife. Things like, “It’s okay honey, you can have another child.” Or “I guess God just wanted her in heaven more than He wanted her here.” To them, this suggested that God was either too mean or too small – not a God full of abundant goodness.
Then one day when James was thinking about all the suffering and hurt, he, his wife and child had endured – all Madeline’s battles, all the sleepless nights on hospital floors, and the dark and rainy day they had placed her little body in the ground, James turned to God and said without thinking, “Maybe it would have been better if she had never been born.” But it was at that moment, James had one of the clearest experiences of God responding to him. At that moment, the voice of a little girl penetrated his mind. As he recounts it: “It was a voice I had never heard but immediately recognized as Madeline’s. ‘Daddy, you should never say that. If I had never been born, I would not be here now. I am so happy here in heaven, and one day you and Mom and Jacob will come and see me, and we will live forever together. And there is more good that has happened because of me that you can’t see now but will one day understand.”
I don’t know where you stand today in understanding God’s promise to always do good for you. But no matter where you stand, you can build your conviction on God’s goodness to you by remembering what God did by sending Jesus to die in your place. What did God do? How has God been good to you?
He forgave you all your sins. None of your sins will be ever counted against you.
He rescued you from a life of slavery to sin. You are free to live the life God created you to live.
He adopted you into His forever family. He gave you a whole new life in Christ.
He gave you the Holy Spirit to guide you, to help you, to teach you and comfort you.
He gave you meaning and purpose in life.
He gave you peace with God, the assurance that He will never leave you nor forsake you, and the confidence that you have a heavenly Father who will always love you and will always be for you.
He gave you access into His presence anytime and anyplace. You always have the ear of the Almighty God.
He made you a coheir with Christ. You are now the recipient of all the riches that are in Christ. And you have His promise, that He will never stop doing good for you. God will not turn from doing you good!…
And what seals the deal with this, is the final truth about God’s goodness I want to share with you today, and that is this:
God rejoices in doing you good He says, “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” Jeremiah 32:41
God does not bless us begrudgingly. When God does good to His people it is not so much like a reluctant judge showing kindness to a criminal he finds despicable; it is like a bridegroom showering affection over his bride. In fact, you see that here, He not only rejoices in doing us good, but He does so with all His heart and soul. There is an eagerness, an enthusiasm and great delight in God towards doing us good.
I love how John Piper describes God’s enthusiasm and delight in wanting to bless us. He says, “God is never irritable or edgy. He is never fatigued or depressed or blue or moody or stressed out. His anger never has a short fuse. He is not easily annoyed. He is above any possibility of being touchy or cranky or temperamental. Instead, He is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfillment of His delights.” And His greatest delight is to do good to us with all His heart and soul. You are the apple of His eye. There’s nothing He wouldn’t do for you, what He wouldn’t do for us! In fact, God seeks us out, because it is His pleasure to do us good: “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show His might on behalf of those whose heart is whole toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
This is our God. Our God is good, and He intends to pursue you with His goodness with all His heart and soul. Perhaps you’ve been distracted from this truth about your God lately. Perhaps there’s been so much conflict in the media, so much bad news in our world, so much blame and condemnation, so much pain and suffering – that you’ve begun to question the goodness of God.
If that’s you, then let me remind you of what God says to you today:
He wants you to know His Name: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,” Exodus 34:6
He wants to bless you with goodness: The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.” Psalm 145:9
He wants you to experience His generosity: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
He delights in doing you good: “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” Jeremiah 32:39-41
Why is it important to remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us? I said it earlier: our goodness is found in the goodness of God. You see, if we are going to bear the fruit of goodness in through our lives: if we are going to be a blessing to others – to bless them with God’s kind of mercy, God’s kind of grace, God’s extravagant and enthusiastic generosity and kindness – then we need to not just understand God’s goodness but receive God’s goodness.
We need to ponder all the goodness God has blessed us with in creation. We need to enjoy ever good thing as a gift from above. The next time you go for a walk, count the blessings of every good thing you see. The next time you sit down to a savory meal, give thanks that God satisfies your senses. The next time you have a struggle or misfortune in your life, thank God that He is there with you to comfort you, hear your prayers and deliver you. The next time the darkness of this world starts to overwhelm you, remember He is always with you and always for you.
And the next time you mess up, do something hurtful or sinful, remember that God is so good, that His goodness to you is so abundant and merciful, that your sin cannot lessen His goodness toward you in the slightest. For He promises to never turn from doing you good, instead, He rejoices in doing good for you with all His heart and soul. That’s our God. He is the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”