We often hear the declaration: “God is good.” It is easy to say it, but at times, if we are honest with ourselves and others, we may not be as sure, particularly when things are not going our way.
For our words to have any meaning, we must live our lives in such a way that we believe that God is good. Some people live their lives according to how much money they have in the bank. Some people live their lives according to what kind of car they drive. Some people live their lives by how many likes they get on social media. Some people live their lives in fear of sickness and disease.
Moses wanted to see God’s glory. And he did, but it might not have been what he was expecting. Moses asked to see God’s glory, and God said, “I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you.” (Exodus 33:19) When we come face-to-face with the goodness of God, we can move forward into victory. We must not live our lives according to the news reports, or social media, or even what our friends have to say about us. We are to live our lives in view of the goodness of God.
So, the next time we say “God is good,” let us remember that he has revealed his glory to us.
As a pastor and teacher, I have pondered the question of how to measure spiritual maturity. It is our mission to disciple and to prepare God’s people to live victoriously. There is no precise way of measuring spiritual growth as there is with physical development. If a parent takes a child to the doctor, they can be weighed and measured. The doctor can then tell you how your child compares with others of the same age and gender. But how can we measure maturity or spiritual growth?
We must build our lives on a foundation of the understanding and acceptance of the goodness of God. It must permeate our thinking, not just intellectually but practically as well. We must live our lives in view of the goodness of God. At times we need to be convinced of God’s goodness.
Moses wanted the reassurance of God’s goodness, and that is His glory. In the same way, as we gain an increased understanding of God’s goodness, which will result in a stronger faith. Here is what God said as He passed before Moses, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Exodus 34:6–7a)
An Unlimited Future
Our limited minds can’t comprehend all that God has in store for us, “his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts.” David said in Psalm 27:13-14, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” It is God’s goodness that invites us to “come boldly to the throne of grace.” It is His goodness that blesses and prospers us and gives us hope in times of difficulty.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said that “now we see through a glass, dimly…” This means that we do not yet have a clear understanding of everything, but a life that is lived in view of the goodness of God holds wholeheartedly to the truth of Romans 8:28; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In the absence of clear understanding, we must cling to the goodness of God.
The key for us is our confidence and trust in God. We will only know the depth and strength of our faith when it is tested. Testing demonstrates the extent to which we are relying upon the goodness of God. It is easy to declare that we have strong faith when things are good and quite another thing to stand firm when our world is seemingly crumbling around us. The hymn writer put it this way, “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.”
Faith Will Be Tested
If the goodness of God was ever put to the test in a man’s life, it was with Job. His friends blamed him, and his wife counseled him to curse God and die, and in the midst of it all, Job was convinced that his heart was right before God. Listen to what he says in chapter 13:15–16 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless man would dare come before him!”
Job was so convinced of the goodness of God that in his heart, he knew that if God took his life, it was because God had something better for him. Job had confidence in the goodness of God.
There are many ways to grow and mature; however, our faith will be of unknown quality until tested. In nearly every test we face, there will be something or someone who will attempt to persuade us that God is not good. That is the enemy’s primary weapon in breaking down faith and trust in the life of a believer.
But the one who trusts in God will have a glorious outcome. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Spiritual maturity and growth may come in many forms and methods, but ultimately our faith will be tried and proven in the crucible of life’s trials and challenges. May we who have been called to lead others do so by example and live our lives in the light of God’s goodness. God is good! (All the time!)