“Heavenly Father, I praise you for your perfect goodness in my life. Thank you for your Word and your compassionate guidance as I journey through this fallen world. Bless me with a hunger for Your Word and a passion to seek You. Make my life one characterized by constant pursuit of Your Will and an unquenchable desire to see Your face. Give me the courage to seek You always, to move toward You always…and to never succumb to the temptation to look back longingly, like Lot’s wife, to the prison of sin from which I was liberated through the work of Jesus.”
Key Verses: Psalm 105:1-4; 43-45 NIV
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for - that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws.
Praise the LORD.
How fitting that, as I embark on today’s journey, my first along the way, the Spirit has led me to dwell on the goodness of God. I think sometimes we pay light homage to it by saying that “God is good” without ever ascribing the gravity that such goodness has on our walk as followers of Christ. Our understanding of, and conviction about, God’s goodness is the very foundation of our faith in Him; in fact, until we exercise the core belief in the immutable quality of goodness in our God, we cannot possibly begin to build upon that foundation. It would be like trying to build a fortress of stone on the surface of the sea.
So often we project our imperfect human definition of “goodness” as a method of defining God’s goodness. Does His action or approach provide us with pleasure in the moment? Does it invoke a positive emotion? We observe things which we consider good by human standards; innocence, naivety, compliance with our desires..and then, when comparing those virtues with God we find that His majesty defies innocence as He cannot be judged guilty or innocent by human standards; His knowledge and experience defies naivety; His position as our Creator, the sovereign ruler of all that is, defies the need to comply with the desires of the created.
God simply cannot be measured by a standard for which He is the source.
God’s goodness is without beginning or end, it is without cause, and its perfection comes from the fact that He is both the source and standard of goodness. Trying to use human measures to gauge God’s goodness is like judging the quality of the source of a spring by the water quality a hundred miles downstream after it has picked up the dirt and pollution of ten villages along the way.
One constant does however remain: The closer we are to the source, the purer the goodness we experience. That is why I try and seek after God, I want the unfiltered, unmodified good stuff and every day that I commit myself to pursuing the source through prayer and the Word, I get that much closer to the source.
As an example of our common willingness to measure the “goodness” of an action by our personal standards rather than God’s standard, I think of the relationship I have with my own son. Every once in awhile we have a workday in which we, as a family, try to accomplish some of the many tasks on my wife’s “Honey…do” list. We set to work and at the end of the day I determine whether I think he has done a good job or a not-so-good job (which is invariably influenced by the amount of complaining or mutiny that ensued). My determination of his demonstrated goodness is directly related to his compliance to my standard for a good product and a good attitude. I consider him to be good, or not, based on a standard that I set. However, the standard I often set for him is a departure from the standard which I, myself, meet.
God has no such weakness. He is the perfect model of goodness and He is the only standard by which any of His creation can be measured. God does not just display goodness, He is goodness. It is not just a demonstration of an awesomely positive personality on a beautiful day, instead it is His very nature and is not influenced by His environment.
There is a common philosophical debate regarding the very existence and definition of good which suggests that there is a balance by which evil must exist for good to exist, otherwise we would not be able to distinguish the two. This philosophical conundrum over the existence of good without evil can be answered simply by a believer: “Good has always existed and will never end, whereas evil, in the form of sin, has existed only since the fall of man and will continue to exist only until the return of the Son of Man.” When evil is gone, only the goodness of God will remain.
And the value of our human standards of goodness, outside the perfect goodness of God, will remain the same, worthless.
Seek God’s face today, embrace God’s unfailing goodness and rest in His strength.