The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.
When I was quite young, I spent much of my time with my grandparents. This was mostly due to the fact that I needed constant care, as my legs were in casts and braces until I was almost three years old. One day, while I was laying on the rug in the living room, my brother accidentally knocked over a lamp. When my grandmother rushed into the room, my brother yelled, “Timmy did it!” My kind and godly grandmother looked at me, and then said to my brother, “You shouldn’t lie about your brother. He is good and could not even reach the lamp you knocked over.” I always remembered my grandmother telling me I was “good,” and that God would be good to those who were good.
Psalm 145:9 makes two important points. First, it speaks of God’s goodness, and second, it tells us of His compassion for His people. God’s compassion is the byproduct of His revealed essence, that is, His goodness. The word “good” is the Hebrew word טוֹב, towb, meaning “well-pleasing, fruitful, morally correct, and proper.” Back in Genesis, God referred to each area of His handiwork as “good.” The exception came when He created man and woman and said they were “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There is a contrast, however, between using the word “good” as an adjective to describe what has been created, and the way God is said to be good. In the case of God, goodness is part of His very essence.
While it’s appropriate to describe God’s goodness in this abstract philosophical manner, the Scriptures also tell us how His dealings with His people reveal His goodness to us in specific ways. See for example Psalm 23:6, Luke 6:35, Ephesians 2:7.
Our earthly fathers can model to us the meaning of goodness by the way they treat us and others, in order that we too might follow their example. How much more perfectly can we learn to express this goodness by watching our heavenly Father. Moses exemplified this behavior in his invitation to Hobab, “Come with us, and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel” (Numbers 10:29).
Goodness for a faithful Christian is never just an outward behavior; rather, it is one aspect of the nature of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22). If we are to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus Christ in this weary world, we are going to have to reflect the goodness our Father shows us to every person we meet. A good person’s good behavior will manifest the goodness that is in the heart of the Lord (Matthew 12:33-35).
Questions to Ask Yourself
King David wanted us to know the ultimate benevolence God has for His creation. He wants to bestow His goodness on all things. Nevertheless, the fullness of His grace is extended only to those who are followers of His.
- When have you experienced God’s goodness? Did you respond with praise to Him?
- In Luke 6:36, Jesus says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” How have you shown the grace and mercy God has given you to others, without expecting anything in return?
- While only God is the very essence of “good,” our thoughts and actions should still reflect the One who made all things. Are your thoughts in line with that of our Father? Do you need help getting your heart in line with God’s heart?
If you need someone to pray for you or with you, contact the church for help. You do not have to be on this journey alone.