Is God Good?
God is always good and ever-worthy of our worship
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Is God good?This question about God’s character and capability plagues more people than any other. Almost daily we hear someone asking the question, “How could a good God allow such suffering in this world?” Perhaps we have asked it ourselves. How indeed?
We live in a world that is filled with physical, mental, emotional, political, and relational suffering. If we’re honest, we’ve all wondered how God could be good and yet allow these things to happen. Why does He not intervene?
One approach to this issue would be to treat it as a purely philosophical issue, but the more urgent concern is the personal pain behind a question such as this. Whether it’s you or someone you care deeply about, suffering and pain can cause any one of us to feel their faith in God’s goodness is hanging by a thread. “IF God is good, I certainly can’t see it.” Sound familiar?
The only way to effectively confront this doubt is to rely on God’s Word to strengthen and restore our faith in God’s goodness.
In Psalm 34, King David writes from the perspective of one who has suffered greatly, perhaps more than most. His suffering lends great weight to his words as he bears witness to the goodness of God in the midst of terrible trials. He declares that God is always good and ever worthy of our worship.
An Invitation to Constant Praise
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (v. 1-3)
David resolved to praise God in all circumstances without ceasing and invites us to constant praise as well. Worship is rooted in our decision to ascribe worth to God for who He is and what He’s done; not in our circumstances. We can choose to praise God, even in our doubts, knowing it will enlarge our view and solidify our faith.
Magnifying God through worship doesn’t increase the amount of His greatness; it increases our awareness of it.
A Testimony of God’s Goodness
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (v. 4-7)
How was it possible that David could praise God continually in the midst of the severe trials he suffered? He was able to do it because he had personally tasted God’s goodness. He testified to his experience in this Psalm by listing four signs of God’s goodness:
- God gives answers: “I sought the Lord and he answered me…” (v.4) David learned, as many of us have, that God always answers prayers, though rarely in the way we ask. God’s answer is always better.
- God implants peace: “… [he] delivered me from all my fears.” (v.4) David could attest that God did not deliver him from all his bad circumstances, but God did deliver him from his fears and give him peace in his heart during his challenges.
- God supplies satisfaction: “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never ashamed.” (v.5) David found satisfaction from a true view of God. We, too, can have an inner, unshakeable, shining joy when we fix our faith on Jesus.
- God provides rescue: “…the Lord heard him and saved him… The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” (v.6-7)This rescuing presence of God that David experienced is available for all who fear and honor Him. It is clearly displayed for us in the gospel – Jesus rescued us from the penalty and power of our sin through his life, death and resurrection.
A Call to Constant Faith
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (v. 8-10)
To experience the goodness of God in our lives requires action. Scripture always points to God’s desire to display His goodness and grace to His people. God wants us not to just know this intellectually, but to experience it. David invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.
Because God is always and only good, when we seek our satisfaction and sufficiency in Him it’s impossible for us to lack any good thing we could need.
God is always good and ever-worthy of our worship.
Questions for further reflection:
- Does suffering tend to strengthen or weaken your faith?
- How would choosing to praise God in a difficult situation change your perspective?
- Can you look back to a time when God came through for you in a crisis, even though you may not have recognized it at the time?
- Can you describe a time when God gave you peace in the middle of a fearful situation? How did this affect your view of His goodness?
- How will you “taste and see” that the Lord is good in your life this week?
(Adapted by Diane Rivers from a sermon entitled, "Is God Good?")