Sometimes we hear a word or a phrase often enough that we no longer let that word or phrase impact us as it should. I think all of us would agree with the statement “God is good.”
Some of us may put some qualifiers behind it because we allow our reasoning and intellect convince us that sometimes God seems to be in a bad mood and does not act “good” at least in our understanding of what that word means.
Even if you really believe God is good all the time, sometimes we no longer allow His goodness to impact us the way it should. Moses was up on the mountain in a 40-day encounter with the Lord. The people began to grow restless and moved into rebellion, revelry and idolatry. Moses had to intercede for them because they had departed from His commandments and God was very displeased with their actions.
Just a short time later, Moses is in the tent of meeting talking with God “face to face” and continuing to beseech the Lord to go with them into the land He had promised them when He had told Moses that He would send an Angel with them but He would not accompany such a rebellious people Himself.
God caused Moses to encounter Him on his second trip up the mountain with the newly carved stones to replace the ones Moses had destroyed. Moses then asked God to “show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18-34:9). God replied to him: “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.” And then a few verses later: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” His glory manifested in His goodness. Moses came off that mountain with his face glowing, reflecting his encounter with the Glory of God.
Did you know that there are no requirements to receive God’s goodness! No matter how “bad” we have been, how “low” we go, we cannot pay for our own sins or mistakes. As a matter of fact, when we reflect His goodness by receiving His forgiveness, the world then sees how really good He is. He forgives us for His Name’s sake! (Psalm 106:8) It is the goodness of God that actually leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
In fact, the first part of that verse calls it “the riches of His goodness.” In other words, His goodness is available to us in abundance and more than enough for every one of us to embrace for ourselves.
Think about Peter. He was full of confidence and full of himself before he denied that he even knew Jesus on the night He was betrayed. Peter was so ashamed that he actually went back to his old trade of fishing. Many of the other disciples followed him.
But when Jesus showed up on the shoreline and beckoned them to come to Him, Jesus took the time to restore Peter. He recommissioned him to “feed My sheep,” even though Peter knew he was unqualified and incapable at the moment. Jesus basically said to him “feed My sheep anyway.”
When Peter questioned what was going to happen to John, Jesus simple said to him, you follow Me and quit comparing yourself or competing against another disciple. Peter received restoration and ended up as one of the leaders of the young church for the rest of his life on earth.
There is a scripture that is so appropriate for the times we are living in currently. “I would have fainted unless I saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” It is an understanding of the goodness of our God that can sustain us through the critical times we are now living in. David understood this as well as anyone when he penned the most famous and familiar Psalm in the Bible. Psalm 23 is a psalm of comfort and in verse 6 he stated: “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” God’s goodness actually pursues us!
Please take the time to read two Psalms that will give you a very clear understanding of God’s ways. Most of us do not see or understand the fullness of God’s ways and nature. We all tend to focus on one or two of His character qualities and sometimes are unable to understanding both His goodness and severity. God hates anything that separates us from Him and He will deal with it one way or another — for His glory’s sake but also to bring us back into the place of relationship with Himself.
Psalm 106 paints a picture for us of His people continually rebelling and then suffering the consequences until they finally cried out for His intervention. Verse 45 sums up God’s actions toward His people. “And for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies.” If you remember what the Lord said about His glory, a part of the outworking of it is His abundant mercy.
Psalm 107 continues to paint an accurate picture of the nature of God. Verses 8-9 states: “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” This is repeated four times in this Psalm! I think the psalmist really wants us to get the revelation of the goodness of our God.
In Psalm 27:13 David summarizes this truth and I think for the times we are living in, expresses why we need to know and understand that God is good – all the time. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”