The Goodness of God
(Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of your life.
Psalm 23:6 (KJV)
God cannot be anything but good. Goodness is one of His attributes, and He is good in every sense of the word. In fact, it is impossible for God to act contrary to His nature. That's why you will hear believers saying, "God is good all the time." Any good we find outside of God finds its source in Him. James 1:17 says, "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." That's why Jesus said to the rich young ruler that no one is good except God alone (Mk. 10:18). And why Paul said that he knows nothing good lives in him, that is, his sinful nature (Rom. 7:18).
It is the goodness of God that makes it possible for us to relate to Him. It's why He listens to our prayers. It's why He forgives us. It's why God accepts us. It is the heart of the Father. He can't act contrary to His goodness because it's who He is. God extends His goodness to us. He desires for us to be happy and fulfilled. A.W. Tozer writes:
One of the perceptions we have of God is that He is good, and that out of His goodness flows mercy. God is kindhearted and of goodwill. In other words, God is kindly and cordial, and we might even say good-natured with a benevolent intention. God is not kindhearted a little bit; He is infinitely kindhearted. He is not gracious and cordial a little bit; He is perfectly and infinitely gracious and good. Whatever God is, He is completely and enthusiastically. God is not some absentee engineer running His universe by remote control. God is present in perpetual, continual eagerness, applying His holy designs with all the fervor of His rapturous love.
The psalmist said to God, "You are good and do only good..." (Ps. 119:68). David said, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." (Ps. 23:6). Everything God created is good (Gen. 1; 1 Tim. 4:4). You only need to look around at the beauty of His creation to know it is good. Psalm 34:8 tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus says He is the good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11) and David declares that the Lord is good to all and has compassion on all that He has made (Ps. 145:9).
Some have said that since everything God does is good and anything that is good flows out of His goodness, then His attribute of goodness must encompass all of His other attributes. When Moses said to God, "Show me Your glory," God replied, "I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you." (Ex. 33:18-19) The next day when the Lord passed in front of Moses, He proclaimed Himself as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithful, and forgiving (Ex. 24:5-7). All of the qualities just named were because God caused His goodness to pass in front of Moses.
There is a little prayer that you may be familiar with that goes like this:
God is good, God is great
Let us thank Him for our food
I was thinking about the difference between God's goodness and His greatness. We've talked a lot about His goodness already and how it reflects the Father's heart, so we need never be afraid of God. But God's greatness speaks of His majesty and splendor and holiness; no one can fathom it. God's greatness causes awe and a holy fear. God is both good and great all the time. We worship Him because of all He is, but it's His goodness that makes it possible for us to approach Him and tell Him everything on our heart all the while knowing He is for us, and He will never turn us away.
When my heart is heavy, when my bones are weak When I cannot stand up Your love will carry me When this fear I’m fighting feels like sure defeat I will run and hide in the love You offer me And I will sing to You The goodness of the Lord never fails me The goodness of the Lord it overwhelms me The goodness of the Lord is always true The goodness of the Lord never fails me The goodness of the Lord it overwhelms me The goodness of the Lord will see me through When my soul is weary, when my spirit’s dry I so often wander still You never leave my side Father, my heart will praise You Oh that my life would sing For only You deserve God the worship I will bring And I will sing to You When my future has been stripped away My God is on my side You never leave, You never walk away Father, I lift You high In every struggle You will never stray My God is on my side In every storm my heart will give You praise Father, I lift You high Father, I lift You high Father, I lift You high