We are in a series of messages looking at five promises of God that deal with who He is. The better we understand God the better we will understand our lives. Today we are examining the goodness of God and how that effects your outlook on life. Today you will learn that because God is always good you do not have to despair. We are going to take the perspective on life called despair and the character of God called the goodness of God and pull them together so that we see and know that God is always good and as a result I never need to despair
Let’s start with Psalm 27:13 where we hear the psalmist say, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (NASB). Let’s talk about despair for just a moment.
The Reality of Despair
Despair is believing that nothing good is going to happen
First, despair is believing that nothing good is going to happen. Circle that word “despaired.” Despair is a place that you don’t want anyone to go. You don’t even want people you don’t like to go there. People who go there often don’t come back. Despair is a dark and very lonely place. When a person reaches despair they believe there is no hope, no future, no joy, and no improvement coming. When you are in despair you can’t see anything good in your future. Despair completely blinds you to hope. You have no idea how life could improve. You have no words to pray. This is beyond being pessimistic.
Despair is fought with faith
Secondly, despair is fought with faith. Look again at what the psalmist said, “I would have despaired unless I had believed.” He is talking about faith. His trust in God. When a person stops believing God, trusting God, and leaning on Him and His truth… when they stop trusting God they begin walking toward despair. They may not experience despair overnight, but they will arrive there unless they place their faith in God. In Ephesians the Bible describes faith as a shield. One of the things that your trust in God shields you from is the mindset of despair. Despair is fought with faith.
Despair is defended off with God’s goodness
Third, despair is defended off with God’s goodness. Look again at what the psalmist said, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord….” During his battle with despair he trusted God, but more specifically he trusted in “the goodness of the Lord.” When we are talking about God’s goodness we are talking about His nature and His actions. Psalm 119:68 says, “You are good, and You do only good” (NLT).
- Notice the Bible says “You are good.” That’s God’s nature. God is perfectly good. That’s who He is. He is good.
- Notice the Bible says, “You do only good.” Because God is good and has no sin, everything He does is good. Every action He takes and does not take is good.
When you understand that your Heavenly Father who loves you is good and everything He does and doesn’t do is good and that His goodness is working out all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose then you begin to view your problems, trials, and setbacks through the filter of God’s goodness and they begin to take on a whole new image for you. Once you begin to see your difficulties the way God sees them, they begin to not look so threatening. Your heart and mind are defended by your faith in God’s goodness in your life.
Despair is not forever
Fourth, despair is not forever. Look one more time at what the psalmist said, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (NASB). He is saying, “I’m going to see God’s goodness in my lifetime. It may be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year but I’m going to see God do something good in this mess, I’m going to see Him turn that bad thing into something good.
The Reality of God’s Goodness
For some, despair is a real thing. You may be experiencing it today. You may be thinking there is no answer, there are no more good days ahead of you, and you feel like all hope or whatever is left of it is fading away in your situation. Before you give up, before you thrown in the white towel, before you quit let me remind you of God’s goodness in your life. Let me show you something about God’s goodness.
God’s goodness is to be experienced
Number one, God’s goodness is to be experienced. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (NLT). God knows that He is good and He wants you to “taste” His goodness. This past January Pam and I had the opportunity to go to Hershey, PA. The home of Hershey chocolate bars and Reese’s candies. We went into Hershey World and everywhere you went from one room to another, from one show to another, or from this exhibit to another there was always someone holding a huge bucket of bite size candy bars. You leave one room you get a Hershey’s chocolate bar, you leave another room you get a Kit Kat, you leave another room you get a Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Hershey knows there products are good and they want you to taste and experience their product.
Listen carefully, God’s goodness is waiting as you enter and exit every room of your life. God wants you to taste His goodness when things are going right, He wants you to taste His goodness when things are going wrong. He wants you to experience His goodness and see His goodness in your life. He knows what His goodness can do in your life.
God’s goodness is a refuge for us
Number two, God’s goodness is a refuge for us. Nahum 1:7 tells us, “The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him” (NLT). No matter who you are, trouble is going to come your way. Trouble at work, trouble with your health, trouble in the family, trouble with your finances, and trouble when you least expect it. But when trouble comes, we are told that God’s goodness is a “strong refuge” for us. A refuge is a place of shelter and protection. It’s a place of safety. God’s goodness protects your mind, your heart, and your emotions. When you are trusting in God and His goodness there is a sense of refuge that comes over you that you cannot explain to others, but you know that you are safe in God’s goodness.
The NLT describes God’s goodness as a “strong refuge.” However, that phrase is really two ideas. Some translations describe God’s goodness as a both a stronghold and a refuge. A stronghold is a fortress, castle, or fort designed to protect those in it. To those inside God’s goodness they see it as a refuge, but to those outside God’s goodness they see it as a stronghold. When Satan’s army sees you trusting in God’s goodness and walking in God’s goodness they see you in a fortress and it becomes more difficult to steal, kill, and destroy what you have. You become a more difficult enemy to pull down.
God’s goodness can bless us through everything
Number four, God’s goodness can bless us through everything. There is nothing God cannot use to bless you with. Look at Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT). According to God’s Word “everything” works together for the blessing, benefit and good of God’s people who love Him. Now the Bible is not saying that God prevents His people from experiencing things that can harm them. It is rather declaring that the Lord takes all that He allows to happen to His people, even the worst things… and turns those things ultimately into blessings. Why? Because He is a good and sovereign God.
Now listen carefully. This phrase “work together” refers to synergism. Synergism is the working together of elements to produce an effect greater than or completely different from, the elements if acting separately. For example, if you only poured sodium on your food you would get sick. If you poured only chloride on your food it would make you sick. However, sodium and chloride mixed together is what makes ordinary table salt, which your body needs. That’s synergy, that’s “working together” for good. It’s the same way with raw eggs, flour, baking soda, water, oil, and 450 degrees of heat. Mix those together and put it in an oven and you get a cake. That’s synergy. That’s what “working together” means.
So… God is able to take “everything,” your sin, your failures, your successes, the sin in the world, the good in the world, your helpful experiences, your hurtful experiences, what you have gone through, going through and about to go through and have them “work together” in such a way that it results in your good. Why? Because He is a sovereign and good God.
Our Response to God’s Goodness
Despair is a reality. God’s goodness is a reality and God wants us to respond to His goodness. Let me show you what God’s goodness can do in your life.
God’s goodness produces our repentance
First, God’s goodness produces our repentance. Look closely at Romans 2:4, “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (NKJV). The Bible is asking, “Do you think that all the good that came in your life was because you’re an incredibly nice person who made God’s special list? Has He been doing this for you because you deserve it?” The answer is no.
God wants you to know that He has been good, kind, loving, and generous with you for one specific purpose… to lead you to repentance. He has been drawing you with goodness, not threats. The word “repentance” means “to have a change of mind,” or “to turn around.” We are to see God’s goodness and have a change of mind that leads to a change of direction that leads to a changed life.
For the unbeliever, this means that God’s blessing in your life, His patience with you and all the good things that have happened to you have all been for the purpose of you coming to a point where you repent of your sin and give your life to Jesus Christ. The greatest act of goodness that God ever did was sending His Son to die for you on the cross so that you would not have to go to hell, but could go to heaven. Repent of your sin and turn to Christ.
God’s goodness produces our goodness
Secondly, God’s goodness produces our goodness. We do good because God is good. God wants to do acts of goodness through us. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about us doing and reflecting God’s goodness.
- In 3 John 1:11 we are told to, “Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God” (NLT). When you are doing good and doing what God approves of then you are showing and demonstrating that you belong to God and are a follower of Jesus.
- In 1 Peter 2:21 we are told, “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps” (NLT). Remember, God’s goodness is not always pleasant. But you are “called,” assigned, and drawn toward doing good. The Holy Spirit in you draws you and calls you to acts of goodness.
- In Titus 3:14 we are told, “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others” (NLT). Doing good is not something naturally we do. People must “learn” to do good. We must be taught, trained and given knowledge about what is good and what is not good actions toward people. This is part of why we study God’s Word because it teaches us what is good and what is not good.
God’s goodness produces our goodness. We are motivated to do good because God is good.
God’s goodness produces our thankfulness
Fourth, God’s goodness produces our thankfulness. Psalm 107:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (NLT). God is a good gift giver. I want to become more and more the most thankful person on the planet. I want to give thanks in the morning (God thank you for giving me another day). I want to give thanks for all the big things and little things in life. God thank you for my health, thank you for my salvation, thank you for helping me grow spiritually, thank you for the ministry you have given me, thank you for my family, thank you for what you have brought me through, thank you for the flowers, thank you for this church, thank you for my friends, thank you for helping me get through the bad times. God, I just want to say thank you.
God is always good, which means you do not need to despair. Listen carefully to Psalm 40, “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. (2) He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (3) He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD” (vs. 1-3, NLT).