There are two things you and I take by faith: the existence of God – and the goodness of God: the fact that He’s doing the right thing with us.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. My heart is filled with the blessing of the Lord, and I’m just so glad to be back with you, bless your heart. I’ve just been praying that God would put His love and His power and His truth in every word I say, and even into the tones of my voice. You can certainly tell what kind of a person someone is, by the tone of voice, can you not? I’m always aware of that and I pray that God may make my voice a blessing, as well is the words that are said.
We’re looking at the 23rd Psalm, we’ve come now to the end of that Psalm, the sixth verse, where David 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”. How good God is, goodness and mercy. This is the combination that you have in Almighty God as He deals with you and with me in His love and in His merciful provisions. “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will He teach sinners in His way, He loveth righteousness and judgment, the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trustest in Him”. “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knoweth them that trust in Him”, Jesus said to the young ruler, Why callest Thou me good, there is none good, but one that is God, but if Thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments”. Paul speaks to the unrepentant sinner and says, “Despiseth thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”.
Now, I’ve just run through a few verses have that are listed in the back of my Thompson chain reference Bible, under the heading of the goodness of God. He’s good and upright, that is, He doesn’t make any mistakes, and He teaches sinners in the way-there’s hope for you and for me, poor sinners that we are. We are imperfect and we make lots of mistakes, don’t we? Mistakes and shortcomings and failings and as we come up before a holy God- we have to depend upon Someone that is good, He’s good and He’s willing to teach us. He’s willing to teach us. Then it says, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”. Wherever you look, wherever you look, you find evidences of a good God. You find out for yourself when you taste and see that the Lord is good, personal awareness of God’s goodness. How do you find that out? You trust Him, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him”, Psalm 34 verse 8. You find out how good God is when you start to trust Him. Have you learned that secret yet? You can’t stand around and just discuss these matters, but you have to trust God, you have to have an experience of Him in your life to find out how really wonderful your Lord is. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in Him”.
Years ago, when I was working at Scripture Press as vice president and distribution manager, I guess they called in those days. I think that’s highbrow for sales manager, if I’m not mistaken. In any case we had a consultant in there from Booz Allen Hamilton in those years, and he we was a very smart man, I must say. Today a good many years afterwards, it’s well over a quarter of a century now, as I look back upon that gentlemen, I know that he was remarkably gifted in his field. Well, anyhow, we were studying some marketing problems and I ventured to remark to him one day and I said, “Mr. so-and-so, you know, you amaze me with the skill by which you seem to zero right into the heart of a problem and work right at it”, I said, “it certainly is remarkable to me”. He looked up at me, he always called me ‘Reverend’, he liked to jab me a little bit about the fact that I was trained as a minister not as a businessman. He said, “Well you know Reverend”, he said, “when you, when you get to these marketing problems you can’t sit there and study about it, you got to have been there”. Not very good grammar but the truth is there. You know you can talk about God all you want, but you’ll get to understand His goodness beloved, when you start to trust Him. Ah, yes there it is. So, then what? Well, he says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, he knoweth them that trust in Him”. We were taught about trust, now it comes down to the pressure points of life. He’s a stronghold in the day of trouble. How good is He? He’s so good, that you can hide in His Presence when the pressure is on. “Oh, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint”. You can hide in God. Our God, is a hiding place, “Thou art my HIDING place”, the psalmist said in another place. God’s presence and God’s promises, we have the writers the Hebrew says, “As an anchor for our soul, steadfast and sure”, He’s a stronghold in the day of trouble. What is a stronghold? A stronghold is a place you can hide, where you cannot successfully be attacked. Stronghold. The goodness of God turns out to be demonstrated in your life when under the pressures and threats and troubles and wars of life, you find that you can go to your Heavenly Father and hide in Him. “Rock of ages cleft for me let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood from Thy riven side which flowed, be for sin, the double cure, cleanse from wrath and make me pure”. Yes, He’s a stronghold.
Then he says, “God’s goodness extends not only to the person who’s doing the right thing, but to the rebellious or the ignorant who are out of the way. Or despiseth thou the riches of God’s goodness and forbearance and long-suffering”. Goodness here is linked with His patience. Fact that He’s willing to wait until you are willing to listen, “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”. Surely he said, “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. Now how does this work out in everyday living? Admittedly, you and I face circumstances and relationships which by no stretch of the imagination, could be called good. Your little child is playing on the sidewalk and thoughtlessly as children will, he turns his bike or his tricycle out toward the street, and is struck by a passing car, injured, you look at that little hurt body and your heart just breaks! And you have a combination of the heart break and love and anger, rage really, and fear, ‘what if, ‘ and it all just sweeps over you. Somebody comes along and says, “Well, the Lord is good”. “Is He?! Why did He let that happen?” you say in anger. Yea, I know. I’ve lived a while and I know, I’ve been through some of these things-when the experience hits you, it’s hard for somebody to get through to you by saying that the Lord is good. He doesn’t seem to be very good when everything is falling apart, when your heart is breaking or when some precious child is hurt or ill or dying or whatever. You’ve worked for corporation for 30 years, and now there’s a merger and you’re informed one day that as a result of the merger, you’re out. You started working for them when you’re about 25 and 30 years now you’re 55, who’s going to hire you at age 55, in a new job? Not many people are going to hire you at that age. You know it, and you think soberly and bitterly really, “Yeah they did it to me, they merged and they made their money and they brought in their buddies and somebody else has got my job and I’m out who’s going to hire me? What about the future? What’s going to happen to me? Where is God in all this?” you say. Now, can you reconcile those traumatic experiences of life, the kind the we all have from time to time, can you reconcile THAT with this statement, God’s goodness, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life?
Here’s a couple thoughts of we ought to layout so that you can just sort of think about them and chew on them and meditate on them after the broadcast is over. Number one, you take God as He is by faith. You don’t try to reason them out. “Can a man by seeking find out by God?” the ancient ask. The answer’s no. You don’t reason your way up to God, you take Him by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, “For He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”. Two things you and I take by faith- one is, the very existence of God , and two, the goodness of God, the fact that He’s doing the right thing with us.
You discover that you have cancer. Does that have anything to do with the goodness of God? You take by faith, the fact that God is good and that He doesn’t make any mistakes, even though your body is wracked with pain. You discover that your little child has a visual defect that keeps him from seeing properly, and that it cannot be helped by surgery or any other kind of therapy. You bitterly think, “Why should that happen to that little child? He didn’t ask to be born this way”. Is God good? You take it by faith. You don’t reason from you circumstances to God, you take God by faith and then you look at your circumstances through love and mercy of God. Can you encompass that concept in your own mind? “He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”, God is taken, not by reason, but by faith in and your faith in God depends not upon how you feel at any given time, but upon the blessed fact that He is God, that He is on the throne, that He doesn’t make any mistakes. Second, there is a master plan for everyone of God’s children, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you”, the Lord says, “thoughts of good and not of evil, to give you a desired end”. God has a master plan for each life and most assuredly it does include some tears, some hurts, some heartaches, some discipline, “Whom the father loveth, He chasteneth and scourges every son, that he receiveth”, says the writer to the Hebrews, and so there’s discipline for every one of us, and out of the hurts of life, and out of the disciplines of life, we learn to love our Heavenly Father more.
I remember one particular spanking I got as a small boy, I must have been I suppose four and a half or five, funny how your remember some of those things. I remember that my father took me in the bathroom, laid me over his knee, he had an 18 inch walnut ruler that he had for such occasions, and he applied the board of education literally to my bottom, and it oh, it hurt! (laughs) And I cried. But I knew I had it coming. This this was a well-deserved spanking. I don’t remember the occasion anymore. but I knew I had it coming, and so finally it was over mercifully, but I remember this, after the spanking I remember putting my arms around him and began with my tears looking up and says, “oh Pop, I love you”.
Somehow or other when God leads us through the chastening, beloved, there is the birth of genuine trust and love in our hearts, goodness includes discipline.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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