‘Appreciation’ Meditations No.21: Appreciating God’s Goodness
Jas 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I want to develop what I was saying in the previous study by developing it into the general subject of the goodness of God. I think most of us as believers – if we have ever thought about it – would agree with the idea that God is good. Jesus declared it of his Father (Mk 10:18) so perhaps we’d better go with it. But the fact is that in the world around us – and we’ll see that in more detail in the days to come – not everything is good. Even more than that we find there are often challenges to that, so let’s check it out, even if we have to go over the same ground several times, because it is so important.
The snide cry of the cynical unbeliever often comes as, “If your God is a God of love, how come he allows…..” and a variety of bad things can then be put forward to show that clearly God is not good. Doubting or questioning comes, of course, in the earliest pages of the Bible: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:10) carrying the implication, “Surely this God of loving provision isn’t going to be so spiteful as to make provision and then stop you using it?”
Exactly the same inference was spoken in the words to Jesus by Satan, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,” (Mt 4:3) as well as the further implication, “Surely if you have the power, God wouldn’t begrudge you using it when you are clearly hungry.” The second one challenged Jesus to prove the Father’s love by creating a situation that needed the Father to step up and show His love (Mt 4:5,6). In the third temptation, in the face of the fact of a fallen world where fallen mankind are under Satan’s sway (1 Jn 5:9), there is the hidden implication that, “If you love this world and want it out of my hands and in yours, if you really love it, you’ll just do this one simple thing.” (Mt 4:8,9).
But as Jesus said, Satan is the father of lies (Jn 8:44), a deceiver (Gen 3:13). The truth is always there to be seen by those with hearts open to God and eyes to see what is fake. Bizarrely ‘fake news!’ has been the champion cry of deceivers in the world today, heard in two of the biggest nations of the world – Russia and the United States. The truth is being widely distorted and we hope to cover that in detail sometime soon in a new series entitled ‘Facing Fallenness”. The enemy will always seek to claim that God is not good and His world and His design needs changing, and he is working ferociously to bring that belief to the fore. I will suggest this more than once but sit and write a list of all the good that God has done in your life – and then worship