A Thought for Sunday Worship

A Thought for Sunday Worship January 15, 2012

Psalm 100 concludes with a note of praise:

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations

God’s goodness was one of the biblical authors’ favorite attributes of God on which to reflect.

The word “good” is one of those words, like “beauty”, that is hard to define but easy to spot. This is because goodness is a quality that is only visible when a person acts out goodness tangibly; goodness must be practiced, if it is to be noticed at all.

So to know and admire the goodness of God we have to reflect on his actions.

How do we know God is good? We know God is good, Because He acts with goodness toward us; Because he gives good gifts! In a letter preserved in the NT from James, Jesus’ own brother no less, we read:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights (1:17).

The biblical writers were good at noticing God’s concrete expressions of his goodness on display all around them through his gifts. And we would do well to learn from them to be better at noticing God’s goodness, goodness on display 360 degrees around us in God’s gifts.

For example, we can see God’s goodness through the gift of Creation. God calls creation “good” and even “very good” in the opening chapter of the Bible. By this I think he means that through creation he provided everything humanity needed to flourish. Even after sin and death marred and spoiled that creation, we still can see God’s goodness in it today. How creation sustains us through its natural resources, occupies us with meaningful labor and vocation, and enraptures us with its spectacular beauty.

No doubt, though, the gift that most reveals God’s goodness is the gift of his only Son Jesus as our Savior. The NT in fact refers to the message about the God’s gift of his Son as the “Gospel” (euangelion), which of course means “good news”. So precious is this gift, Paul is moved to call it an “indescribable gift” [2 Cor 9:15]. God’s action in and through his son Jesus to bring forgiveness and deliverance from sin and death is far and away the clearest and most lucid expression of God’s goodness.

Let’s meditate today on the God we know is good because he has acted with goodness towards us.

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