So here’s a question. What if God wasn’t good? What would your life look like? It’s amazing isn’t it how we take it for granted that God is good? Goodness and God have come to be almost synonymous in our western world today. But it wasn’t, and isn’t now, always the case that gods are seen to be good.
When Jesus, walked the earth, there were many other gods on display. Even in Israel the temples and shrines to the Roman and Greek Gods had come with the empire. Their gods were a mixed bag. Some were warlike, others fickle. Some were in complicated relationships with each other and most of them demanded sacrifices and needed to be pacified or bribed in order to do their adherents ‘good’.
The Jews on the other hand had always had a God who was good, but sadly over the years they had just covered the goodness of God with their ritual and laws and demands, and confused the simplicity of their faith that God is love, with their religious rule book.
Picture the scene then when Jesus came into the world to reveal God as Father, by healing the sick, raising the dead, setting the captives free and bringing forgiveness and good news to the poor, all for free. No wonder ‘the large crowd listened to Him with delight’. Mark 12:37 He offered everyone new life, and all at His expense.
He came with the news that God was good, that He loved the whole world, and that he was making a way for all who wanted to, to come and find Him without all the ritual, sacrifice and idolatry that was all around at the time. He showed the people who their Heavenly Father was and what He was like. He said ‘If you have seen me you have seen the Father’ John 14:8,9 and they liked what they saw.
It was Jesus that taught them that God was a good Father, a God they could talk to and ask for daily bread and protection, Matthew 6:9-13. That they didn’t need to worry because this God knew what they needed and He cared for them, Matthew 6:25-34. He taught them that this Heavenly Father was so much better than any earthly Father, Luke 11:13, and even disciplined out of love and not caprice. Hebrews 12:10.
At the same time as recognising how blessed we are that we have a good God, and not taking that for granted in the wrong way, we also need to remember that we have an enemy who subtly attacks the character of God, (being far from good himself). This is particularly so at times when we don’t understand all the things that are happening in our lives, the hard and difficult things. It’s then that we can slip into having our doubts and suspicions about God’s intentions towards us.
We need at those times to join Basilea Schlink in her confession, ‘Father I do not understand you but I trust you’. We do know that He is a very good Father, perfect in fact, and sometimes we can confess and declare ‘God is good’ because we believe it, while at other times we need to declare it until we do believe it. I can choose to thank Him that I am the object of His goodness everyday.
This is so personal and important and will change how I face and walk through each day, whatever that day may bring. So let us give ourselves to thanking the Lord that He is a good God, and that His intentions towards us are only good all the time. As we do, we can bask in the sunshine of His love and goodness. We can thank Him that today, ‘His goodness and mercy will follow me’ psalm 23:6, We can thank Him in advance because He is good, and since He said He would follow me with that goodness and mercy all the days of my life. I can say ‘today is one of those days!! with an entirely positive meaning.