you are good and do good; teach me your statutes. [psalm 119:68]
the goodness of God. where do we even start? wayne grudem has a pretty good definition in his book, “systematic theology”. (shameless plug for the theology study you can do at matthias!!) he says “the goodness of God means that God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval.” this means that God is not only the final standard of good, but that he also is the one who decides the final standard of good, because he is the only one who is ultimately good. Jesus says of his Father,
no one is good but God alone. [luke 18:19]
the psalms are filled with praise directed toward God’s goodness and the good that he does for man. this means that God chose not to keep all of his goodness to himself, which he would have been perfectly just and in the right to do, but he chose to bless man with his goodness, and in an even more special way to bless his children with his goodness. this means we get to experience God’s goodness firsthand. David writes,
oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! [psalm 34:8]
james also writes,
every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. [james 1:17]
and so we see that all mankind has been blessed to a great degree with the goodness of God. every man, woman, and child, has been given a sunrise every morning, air to breathe, and a heartbeat that sustains their life. but the ultimate good with which God can bless has been reserved for those he has called to be his. the ultimate good he can give is God himself. his presence. his glory. in his Spirit, and through his Son.
no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. [psalm 84:11]
God never withholds himself from those who follow him. if you are his child, you have all of him. with complete access at all times to his goodness. oh, that we would take full advantage of the goodness of God!
and to make sure we’re not confused about the goodness God gives, let’s mention what it does NOT mean. God’s goodness does not mean an easy life. God’s goodness does not mean great wealth. God’s goodness does not mean immediate answer to prayer the way we want prayer to be answered. God’s goodness does not mean the absence of pain, trials, or suffering. in fact, God always uses these difficulties in life to give us more of himself, which is the ultimate blessing of goodness!
and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [romans 8:28]
all things! everything in our life is ultimately going to lead us to more of him! what a promise we can cling to on the darkest of our days. grudem encourages his readers to write down the things in their lives in which they can see God’s goodness. to make a list. but i would further that challenge to make a list of the things in your life in which it is difficult to see God’s goodness. then search his word. pray through them. cry out and ask for more of God in them. and he will do it. for he promises to give such good gifts to his children.