The goodness of God involves also His guidance. “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord."
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Oh I’m fine thank you. Happy in the Lord, glad to be back with you because you are the one that makes it all worthwhile under God. Thanks for being there. Now, I want to share with you from God’s Word once again. We’re in the 23rd Psalm, we’ve come to the last verse which says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. We had little time to talk about goodness and I want just to go on with that for a moment, because it’s such a rich concept and I think may be of help to some who listen even today. Goodness, the goodness of God. I’m going out to Romans 2, verse four, “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”.
You know, some of the things that happen to us can’t possibly be called good in themselves. An accident, an illness, a sorrow bereavement, a relationship with people that is tragic, a business disappointment, somebody passes over you in terms of being promoted, somebody else is promoted instead of you in the business, or if you have your own business, you fall upon lean times and are in danger of losing it if you haven’t already. A lot of things happen to us that we can’t call “good” in themselves. And yet from Heaven’s point of view, it is the goodness of God that leads you and me to repentance. God uses some of the unpleasant things, some of the tragic things, some of the things that hurt, He uses them to turn us to Him. Now, I can’t tell you why this is so, I only know that it IS so. In 18 years in the pastorate full-time I made about 1,000 calls a year, three times a day, go talk to somebody about Jesus. That’s a good formula by the way pastor, you get going three times a day, go to talk to somebody about the Lord Jesus and you’ll find that God blesses your ministry and that the people come to hear you preach as a result. So anyhow, as I talked with people during those years when I was full-time in the pastorate, so often folk would say to me, “Well, I guess the Lord had to put me on my back in the hospital so He could get my attention”, or, “I guess the Lord had to give me these business problems, so that I’d learn to pray”. Again and again folk would say in one way or in another, God allowed this to happen, so that He could bring me to Himself.
I remember Joe Mrozek who was one of the delegates to the Beatenberg conference of Youth for Christ in 1948 at Beatenberg, Switzerland. Joe arrived from Poland in clothes were threadbare and in shoes that had pieces of cardboard inside of the shoe, where the leather had worn through, so that he wouldn’t actually be walking on his bare feet. He had gone through it. The war was just over and he had nothing left of what had been a prosperous legal practice. And he told his testimony. By the way we got together and we got him some clothes and some shoes and some funds and sent him back far different from the way he came! But in any case when he gave his testimony he said, “That on one day he stood on top of a pile of rubble that was at least 18 to 20 feet deep, knowing that underneath that pile of bricks and stone and steel, lay all of his family, his law library and everything of value, materially that is, that he had in this world. Can you imagine how that would feel? All of your loved ones, all of your possessions, all of your professional tools as well, all gone! As he told about it, his eyes filled up and then he said, “I guess God had to take those things away from me, so that I would get my eyes on Him”.
The goodness of God. Now, somebody’s going through it today, I don’t know who you are, or where you are. But I know that somebody listening to me is going through some dreadful trials and you’re tempted to despair, you’re certainly tempted to be a little bit bitter about it and say, “What is God trying to do to me, kill me?”, No, beloved, He’s not trying to kill you, He’s trying to get your attention. “Well, you see, I say my prayers, I pray every day”. I know, but there is that deeper attention of one’s heart of hearts, so to speak, that God wants, “Ye shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me”, God said through Jeremiah. “When ye shall search for Me with all your heart”. Jehu’s problem was not that he was not a successful and vigorous King, that he was, but it says in the in the book of Kings, “Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel, with all his heart, in that he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam. In those days”, it says, “God began to cut Israel short. One man’s failure to give God all his heart resulted in the decline of a nation”. Oh, what an awesome passage that is. Say, would you turn heavenward even now beloved, and thank God for what’s happening so that you are brought once again to your knees before Him. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”. Please don’t please, don’t succumb to the temptation to be bitter and complaining, and all that before God; instead, let your heart be made warm and tender toward your loving Heavenly Father because He’s allowing what’s coming to you, in order that He may show you His salvation, His love, His mercy, His goodness, and His Truths. .
Well, the goodness of God involves also His guidance. “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord and He delighted in His way though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholds him with His hand”, I’m quoting from Psalm 37. Turning the pages of my big Bible so I can read it for you and with you, “The steps of a good man”, verse 23, “are ordered by the Lord and He delighted in His way”. Now who was the he, “that ordered by the Lord and He the Lord delighted in His servants way?” Do you remember, parents and grandparents, do you remember when that little toddler first began to walk? The first step? Somebody was on the job the day I took my first step. I don’t know where the picture went-I haven’t seen it in years, but it was around for a good many years, the picture of yours truly, taking his first two steps, It was out in the front yard of a house in California, where I was born. I was born in Santa Clara, California. Did you know that? I’m a native son. Hasn’t done me any good, but I am. But anyhow there was the picture of yours truly taking his first step, and I suppose the aunts the uncles and the rest of the relatives were oo-ing and ahh-ingas we all do. You know about that grandma and grandpa, mother and dad? Of course you do. Well it says, “He delighted in His Way”. God delights, God delights in your toddling steps. He takes pleasure because He’s a good God, He takes pleasure in helping you step along the road of life. “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord”, God’s goodness has led you to take the steps that you’re now taking, one after another.
I’ve often said, “What you are, where you are and the people with whom you are, the job in which you are, is all part of the gracious provision of God for you”, and that’s His goodness. He delights in your way. He’s watching your steps. And then not only that, but if steps are ordered, also then stops are ordered. If you order steps then that means they’ll be some times when you stop, and that also as part of God’s wonderful provision in His goodness. Not only that but it says, “Though he fall”, that’s our idea of stumbling, “though he stumble, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand”. God delights in hanging onto you, beloved. “He that hath begun a good work in you”, Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “will perform it”, will keep on doing it, “until the day of Jesus Christ”. God isn’t going to let go of you. You’re His and He upholds you with His hand. Oh, the hand that has hold of you is a nail-pierced hand beloved. Jesus went to Calvary to buy your salvation and to fulfill all the law and to pay all the penalty, for all of the sins of all the world, He’s the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world, and that same hand that was pierced by the spikes on Calvary’s cross, is the hand that holds onto you, “The Lord upholdeth him with His hand”, and so steps and stops and stumbles are all sanctified by the goodness of God. Surely, goodness shall follow me all the days of my life.
Now, somebody’s saying to me rather bitterly, “Well, Cook, you don’t understand. It’s Alright for you to say those nice things but you don’t know what I’m going through”, and of course you’re right, I don’t know. But God knows and the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you”. God knows and He cares and the writer to the Hebrew says that, “Our Savior can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities”, He knows how I feel, which is more than any of my friends do. Jesus knows how I feel. He cares and then He’s able to do what we need. Ephesians 3:20 says that, “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”. And so you’re quite correct if you say that Brother Cook doesn’t really know what you’re going through. Of course I don’t. How could I? But I know Somebody that does know, and Somebody that does care, and Somebody who is able then, thank God, to do something about it. Turn your life over to Him today, turn the steps of your life over to Him.
Somebody is at the crossroads of life, you’re wondering which way to turn. A different job, a different relationship, a different location, somebody’s wondering whether to marry the girl or the boy or not and all of that. Somebody’s wondering about whether to take a job or quit a job, somebody’s wondering about which college to go to and so on. Oh, beloved, Jesus knows! God has planned out your life from all eternity. Yes He has, and His perfect plan is the one that you want, by all means. The goodness of God leadeth thee, the steps of a good man ordered by the Lord. We’ll talk about this again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, we want to thank Thee for Thy goodness and we pray that Thou would give us the good sense to depend upon it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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