The Bare Soul
- May 24, 2009
The Fruit of the Spirit - Goodness
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
If questioned about the goodness of God, most people who believe in Him would say that God is a good God. However, if you continue to query them on how good God truly is then you might hear some vacillation. While most folks see God as a loving, good Creator they still may question some of His dealings with humankind and our world as a whole. They don't understand how a "good" God could allow pain and suffering in the world. As we discussed in The Fruit of the Spirit - Love, it has never been God's desire for humankind to be plagued by sin and sorrow -- this was a choice made long ago by the first man and woman. We inherited from them that choice through our sin natures. We perpetuate sin and sorrow in this world by our fallen state from His grace. However, even in the midst of all that tries human's souls, His grace is demonstrated over and over again by His love and goodness that draws us toward His presence. Oh, what a glorious redemption it is that He continues to woo and to draw all those whom He has called to be his beloved!
Of course, there will always be those who believe that the Heavenly Father is a mean tyrant that dealt them and everyone else a bad hand by even allowing them to be born. Amazingly and benevolently, God Almighty continues to allow these hearts that spurn Him to continue to beat. Even as millions and millions curse God daily, shaking an angry fist toward heaven, the air of life continues to fill their lungs as they enjoy the goodness of life that God continues to bestow. God loves all and as Jesus Christ stated in the gospels: ... He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). While God is good and His goodness is poured out on all humankind, there are special relationships that He has with those He calls His own where His goodness is a continual and eternal outpouring of His Divine Nature. While there are many ways that the Eternal Yahweh reveals Himself and His goodness to those who know Him, let's look at three verses and the modus operandi of how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reveals, enriches, and follows them who love and fear God. For truly, those who seek Him will find Him and know the fullness of His goodness.
God's Goodness Revealed to the Righteous
Exodus 33:19 - And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."
Moses was the friend of God (Exodus 33:11). The relationship between close friends is a unique one even as that of Moses with the Most High. God knew that his friend Moses could be trusted with the knowledge of seeing and experiencing the goodness of His Nature. One might say, "I could never have the type of relationship that God had with this ancient patriarch!". By stating or believing this is to call God a liar if that is indeed the type of relationship He is calling you to. God said that He would decide with whom He would be gracious to and show compassion. It is not ours to limit God and His desire to reveal Himself to us. Embodied within His goodness is the revelation of His name and what that means. While Yahweh is the most widely used Hebrew name ascribed to the the Maker, He is also manifest in "attribute names" -- much like "goodness" is an attribute of the Lord. As God is all things creative and restorative, He manifests these through His name. Below are just a few manifestations of His name in attributes:
God's Goodness Enriches the Righteous
Psalm 31:19 - How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men!
An everlasting, inexhaustible supply of everything that is good about God is laid aside for the believer. It is a treasure house or a bank account, if you will, that can never be overdrawn. The "shock and awe" of God's good Nature is the ticket to unlocking these storehouses of continual riches. Solomon stated that ... the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Living a holy and upright life before the Lord and reverencing Him as the Almighty is the beginning of a successful treasure hunt of everlasting worth. Wisdom is undoubtedly the key to unlocking the storehouses of God's goodness. The scripture is very clear that this is not for some day in the "sweet by and by". No, beloved, this is for NOW as David writes specifically that this will be manifested ... before the sons of men! As we draw upon the goodness of God, may we provoke others to jealousy as they see the inexhaustible supply of goodness that the Lord continues to bestow. Then, we may say with the Psalmist to those who would be moved with desire for the Lord: O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8).
God's Goodness Pursues the Righteous
Psalm 23:6 - Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The remarkable thing about His goodness is not only is it always available to those who love and seek His presence, but it is working and active in our lives even when we don't realize it. The statement that goodness and lovingkindness is following or doggedly pursuing the righteous has the implication that it will overtake us on those days where we may stumble or become confused regarding where the path of life has brought us. It is comforting to know that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and that He always has His goodness "tailing" us, as it were, because He cannot deny the Spirit which He has put within us (II Timothy 2:13). He watches our every step and sends help in the form of all of His goodness to help in the day of trouble if we will but continue to call upon Him. Even as many have been abused and jailed by rogue governments, we have a "Heavenly Diplomat" that will rescue us no matter how unsavory a situation we fall into. He has the resources to extradite us from any situation that the enemy may conjure against us.
While most will admit that "God is good", few will experience the depths of what God's goodness truly entails. Most acknowledge a God of goodness yet live as if He were the God of continual retribution, just waiting to smash them if they make the slightest error. The Heavenly Father desires for us all to enter that place of friendship and trust with Him. He desires to not only reveal all of His wonderful goodness, but to also give us an everlasting storehouse to draw upon. And, even in those times when we become blind-sided by the world or the snares of the evil one, we can rest assured that our Heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ is pursuing us and WILL overtake us with His love and goodness. We have been given the key to unlock the wonderful treasures of all his goodness if we will but surrender all our "supposed" treasures to Him. What He gives in return is the eternal and everlasting gift of His Nature -- a Nature so full of goodness that will never come to an end!
Heavenly Father, show us all your goodness as we surrender to You. Enrich us daily with the good things of Your nature, and pursue us and overtake us with your love and goodness now and forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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