God is Good
When we say God is Good, the temptation is to look at his goodness at the level of the regular definition of the word goodness. The goodness of God is far greater, and reaches far beyond the goodness we understand as humans. Isaiah 55:7-9 (KJV) gives us an idea of the superiority of God’s goodness to human goodness: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Yes, the goodness of God is superior and greater than your understanding of the word goodness; just as the heavens are higher than the earth.
David in Psalm 8 pondered over the goodness of God and concluded with a heartfelt worship. He said, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:  All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;  The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.  O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”Psalm 8:3-9 (KJV). His goodness requires that we praise, give thanksgiving and serve him with gladness. Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV). Also gives a good picture of God’s goodness and its demand on us: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
In Psalm 107:8 (KJV) The Bible clearly says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Some of the good acts of God stated in Psalm 107 include: 1. Redemption from sin, from the power of sin. Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” 2. Deliverance and divine guidance. Psalm 107:6-7 “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.” 3. He satisfies the hungry soul and makes a way for the hopeless in darkness: Psalm 107:9-10,14 “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.” 4. Healing and the destruction of satanic bondages: Psalm 107:16,20 “For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” 5. He stills the storms of our lives and gets us to our desired destination: Psalm 107:29-30 “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” 6. God can reverse the situations of the poor and needy: Psalm 107:35-38,41-42 “He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.  And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;  And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.  He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.  Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.  The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.”
In Psalm 144:1-2 David saw the goodness of God with the eyes of a warrior. He said, “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:  My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.” Your story of God’s goodness in your life could be different as well, but his goodness is constant.
Some people that think of the goodness of God only in terms of the future. It is wrong to do so. We must expect the goodness of God on our lives now and here on earth, and in the future as well. In Psalm 27:13 the psalmist said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” We also know that Jesus, while he was bodily here on earth, went about doing good: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38. Jesus himself told his disciples, that they don’t have to wait till they get to heaven for them to enjoy his goodness, as it were: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 KJV
Yes, the greatest part of the goodness of God for mankind will be experienced in the world to come. It’s hard to clearly comprehend how that goodness would be. In Psalm 31:19 the Bible says, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Our little brain box cannot comprehend it right now. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Even John the beloved, who’s access to the mind of God was relatively unparalleled, could not comprehend the magnitude of it. See what he said in 1 John 3:1-3, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
It is important to note that, although the goodness of God is all over the earth, not everyone is taking advantage of it. That is why the psalmist said, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8 KJV. In John 1:45-46 KJV Philip puts it slightly differently, he said ‘come and see’: let’s read, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” Jesus was the good thing Nathaniel was talking about, he was the goodness of God here on earth. The question now is, what does it take to taste, or to truly see the goodness of God? Looking at the meal before you is not the same thing as tasting it. Smelling the aroma of a meal, or seating in from of it doesn’t mean you are eating it. You must have to eat the food to know the taste of the food. Similarly, hanging around the children of God does not make you believer. The following keys are required for us to fully access the goodness of God.
Number one is Faith. Look at Psalm 34:8 one more time: “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Trusting in the goodness of God is key. Everyone that trust in his goodness is blessed, this mean, you will know his goodness. Faith in God is what opens your heavens. In this kingdom, I mean the kingdom of God, faith is the key. You must believe that God is good for you to gain access into his goodness. Pay attention closely to the conversion below. Jesus just told Nathaniel, I saw you while you were under the fig tree: “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:49-51 KJV. In the secular world, the principle is seeing and believing. But in the spiritual world, it’s believing and seeing. Jesus told Martha if you believe, you will see the glory of God: “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” John 11:40 KJV. Listen carefully to this conversation and you will see the overwhelming importance of faith in our endeavor to access the goodness of God: “And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.  And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:21-23 KJV. Note that Jesus said all things are possible to him that believes. The problem with us is that we always want to apply the secular principle of seeing before believing with the things of God. Like Thomas Didimus, many of us will not believe until they see. See what Jesus told him in John 20:29, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Yes, you are blessed if you can believe in his goodness even before you start experiencing it. It takes trusting in him, to taste, or see his goodness.
The second key is thanksgiving, and praise. The key into God’s storehouse of his goodness is thanksgiving, and praise. Let’s look at Psalm 100 one more time. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5. We must serve him with gladness, thanksgiving, and praise in order to access his bountiful goodness. In Psalm 50:14-15 KJV, the Bible says, “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:  And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Thanksgiving opens your heaven. When you give him thanks and pay your vows he will answer you whenever you call and give you more reasons to glorify him. We know that Jesus was pleased with the one Samaritan that came back to give him thanks out of the ten lepers that were healed on their way to see the priest. Jesus called his attitude of gratitude faith. Thanksgiving is the faith that perfects whatever God has started in you life. Carefully read through the following verses of scripture: “And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:16-19. The ten lepers were healed, but this Samaritan thanks-giver was made whole. Which mean even the scars the disease were removed. That is how God will bless you when you give him proper thanksgiving. You healing and promotion shall be perfect in Jesus name.
We can also see from Jeremiah 30:19-20, the significance of thanksgiving in accessing the goodness of God: “And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.  Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.” Increase, divine elevation, and divine vengeance against your enemies, are also some of the blessings we can get from God when we give him thanks and serve him with gladness.
Let me reiterate that the importance of serving with gladness and thanksgiving cannot be overemphasized. Some of the most severe curses of the law are consequences of negligence in this area. See what I mean in Deuteronomy 28:47-48 KJV: “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ;  Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things : and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.” Serve God with gladness, thanksgiving, and praise, and you will be amazed at the amount of his goodness you will enjoy.
The third key is departing from evil and doing good. We see this principle clearly stated in Psalm 34:12-17: “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.  Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” It is good to be good to people, because the people that God brings your way are potential angels. For instance, the Hebrew maid that was in the house of General Naaman, that told him about Elisha, was his angel. Naaman and his wife must have been good to her, for her to be concerned about her master’s health. It was the goodness of the Shunammite woman to Elisha that provoked provoked her breakthrough. We naturally attract the goodness of God when we are good to others. Like attracts like. The barrenness of Abraham and Sarah was terminated when they showed hospitality to the three strangers in Genesis 18.
Selfishness and too much focus on ourselves; focus on our own challenges can prevent us from his goodness. There is an interesting story in 1 Samuel 30. In this story David and his men returned to their camp in Ziklag and found that the camp has been burnt down by an unknown group of raiders who took their wives and children away as well. Needless to say that they were distressed, but they decided to pursue after the raiders, not knowing exactly which way they went. But as they continued this random chase, they found a sick, tired and unconscious man lying in the field. And although they had enough of their own problems to worry about, they did not ignore him. They picked him up, gave him water and food. When he was revived, he became the answer that David and his men were looking for. He lead them to the invaders, so David and his men recovered all. The lesson is this, David and his men were good to the young man, and he turned out to be the answer they looking for. Now, this young man was abandoned by his master because he fell sick, and he became the undoing of his master. If his master had not abandoned him, David and his men would not have seen him to get the information and direction they got from him. Good people attract the goodness of God, wicked people attract evil things as well. And let’s not be evil because people are mean to us, the Bible admonishes us to overcome evil with good. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 KJV
It is also true that every living things enjoys the goodness of God. We are all beneficiaries of the goodness of God to a certain extent. The wicked and the ungodly enjoy the sunshine, the rain and the air we breath. Why is God good to even the people that deny his existence? Why would God not judge them immediately? Yes, maybe you are one of the very many people all over the world, who have no faith in God, and have never been thankful to him, nor appreciative of his goodness to you. Maybe you have never cared to be good to others, and have yet enjoyed his goodness. The reason for his goodness in your life is because he wants you to repent. Romans 2:4 puts it this way, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Hell has been prepared for satan and his cohorts. Satan and his cohorts are fighting hard to take many people along with them. You are still enjoying his goodness because he doesn’t want you to go to hell. In the book of 2 Peter 3:9 the Bible clearly states, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The ball is your court, make up your mind to trust in his goodness; trusting in his goodness will make you understand that whatever instruction he gives you is for your own good, he wants to bless you, he will never take advantage of you. This understanding would in turn make you serve him with gladness and thanksgiving. Praising him will become easy and natural. And when we are good to others, the more of his goodness we get. Our fulfillment depends on this: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” God bless you.