Preface: The Holy Spirit seems to be revealing to the body of Christ in these days the foundational doctrine of the goodness of God. We dare not try to follow Jesus as His disciple and not be firmly grounded in the revelation and reality of His goodness. So this study is a step in that direction.
“The Goodness of God” in the Old Testament Exodus 18:9 – “Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.” This verse follows Moses telling his father in law “all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake…” and how He had delivered Israel.
Exodus 33:19 – “And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” God states this in response to Moses’s request, “I pray you, show me Your glory.” (vs. 18) It appears His goodness and His glory are closely tied together. Practically speaking, does this mean that God showed Moses all the good things He had done for them and perhaps in prior generations? Important to see here that God’s goodness is not naturally seen. To truly see it in all its fullness – revelation is necessary. And revelation often comes in response to our prayers for such.
I Kings 8:66 & II Chronicles 7:10 “On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David His servant and to Israel His people.” This had to do with the building of the glorious temple of King Solomon’s day. When we have eyes to see God’s goodness, joy and gladness results. One of the roles of the leaders of God’s people is to keep His goodness before their eyes.
Nehemiah 9:25 – “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled and grew fat. And reveled in Your great goodness.” Sadly in this case, experiencing and reveling in God’s goodness caused the people of Israel to grow fat and complacent and entitled – resulting in disobedience and rebellion – resulting in God’s judgment.
Nehemiah 9:35 – But they, in their own kingdom, With Your great goodness which You gave them, With the broad and rich land which You set before them, Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.” (see above comments)
Psalm 23:6 – “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This conviction is crucial for God’s people to walk in peace and confidence and security.
Psalm 25:7 – “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’sake, O Lord.” The Psalmist knew if God related to him according to his sins, he would be toast. So he appealed to God’s lovingkindness and to His goodness. His hope was in the lovingkindness and goodness of God to overrule His judgment.
Psalm 27:13 – “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Again this confidence that God is good and that we will experience His goodness and that He will relate to us out of His goodness is crucial for our hope and fighting discouragement and despair.
Psalm 31:19 – “How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! God’s goodness knows no bounds especially for those who fear Him and take refuge in Him openly before men.
Psalm 65:4 – “How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.” God’s goodness satisfies like none other.
Psalm 68:10 – “Your creatures settled in it; You provided in Your goodness for the poor, O God.” One aspect of God’s goodness is His care for and attention to the poor.
Psalm 145:7 – “They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.” These actions should increasingly characterize gatherings of the people of God.
Isa. 63:7 – “I shall make mention of the lovingkindness of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindness.” Again this is one of the responsibilities of the leaders of God’s people – – that of keeping His goodness in the forefront of everyone’s minds through worship and praise and testimony, etc.
Jer. 31:14 – “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord. A continual focus on the goodness of God results in deep inner satisfaction for God’s people and is a safeguard against seeking satisfaction elsewhere.
Hosea 3:5 – “Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.” Renewal and revival results in God’s people seeing His goodness where they couldn’t see it before.
“For He is good”in the Old Testament I Chronicles 16:34 – “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His lovingdkindness is everlasting.” One of the reasons we are to give thanks is because God is good.
II Chronicles 5:13 “in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,” When God’s people sincerely worship Him for His goodness, He blesses them with manifestations of His glorious presence.
II Chronicles 7:3 “All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Sometimes manifestations of His glory and presence opens the eyes of the people of God to His great goodness.
Ezra 3:11 “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” Often when God enabled His people to accomplish something great or significant (like as in this case – building the foundation for the temple) it resulted in their worshipping Him for His goodness and lovingkindness.
Psalm 106:1 – “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” A major reason in scripture to praise and thank the Lord is because He is good as seen in this and the next four scriptures.
Psalm 107:1 – “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 118:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 118:29 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 136:1 – “”Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” “The Lord is good”in the Old Testament
Psa. 34:8 – “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” The psalmist exhorts the people of God to know and experience God as a good God. We can’t be passive about this or just know it intellectually/cerebrally.
Psa. 100:5 – “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” This is the stated reason for why we are to regularly “enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise, Give thanks to Him, and bless His name.”
Psa. 135:3 – “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.” The fact that God is good should elicit continual praise on our lips.
Psa. 145:9 – “The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” This is a fact! And disciples must be confident that He is indeed good to all all the time regardless of circumstances that seem to speak otherwise.
Jer. 33:11 – “the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Combined with vs. 10 = a promise of what will one day be on the lips of many in Israel when God brings restoration and revival there.
Lam. 3:25 – “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” For God’s goodness to be experienced, we must learn to wait upon Him and seek Him as a way of life.
Nah. 1:7 – “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.” A stated fact. “You…are good” in the Old Testament
Psalm 86:5 – “For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” All the personal requests the Psalmist made is the first four verses are based on this conviction about God’s character. Without this conviction – prayer has no chance!
Psalm 119:68 – “You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.” Not only is God good, but He also does good, and we can become like Him if we ask. “So God was good”in the Old Testament
Exodus 1:20 – “So God was good to the mid-wives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.” These Hebrew midwives experienced God’s goodness and blessing because they “feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them…” (vs. 17).
Psalm 73:1 – “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” Now we know God is good to all. But He is especially good and blesses those who are pure in heart. “The good Lord” in the Old Testament
II Chron. 30:18, 19 – “For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, ….” Part of Hezekiah’s confidence in making this request was knowing God is a “good Lord”.
Psalm 25:8 – “Good and upright is the Lord: Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.” Because God is good, He instructs and pursues and speaks to sinners. “The good hand of His God” in the Old Testament
Ezra 7:9 – “For on the first day of the month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of His God was upon him.” Ezra had favor with men because He had favor with God, who is especially good to those who trust and fear Him.
Ezra 8:18 – “According to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of insight of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, 18 men; The people of God Ezra was leading also experienced the goodness of God, which in this context and the one before seems very similar to the concept of favor.
Neh. 2:8 – “and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go.” And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.” Nehemiah and Ezra had very similar relationships with God and thus experienced similar favor “Your good Spirit” in the Old Testament
Nehemiah 9:20 – “You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst.” Since the Holy Spirit is God He is of course good.
Psalm 143:10 – “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Very important when we think of the Holy Spirit that we think of Him as being good. Not doing so would affect our expectations of Him.
The Goodness of God in the New Testament Matthew 5:44,45 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” God’s goodness is not explicitly stated or mentioned, but this is an example of His goodness to all men.
Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19 – “And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” A statement of God’s exclusive goodness.
John 10:11, 14 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” Jesus is not just our shepherd, but our good shepherd. All of His shepherding of His sheep comes out of His goodness.
Acts 14:17 “and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Concluding Thoughts, Observations, Conclusions: 1. The Doctrine of the goodness of God is almost totally or solely revealed in the Old Testament. This is a great example of why the Old Testament is so important and should never be neglected. 2. God’s goodness is described as being “great” and “abundant” and yet it is often not seen by many. Revelation is necessary to truly see it as it is. And revelation tends to fall to the poor in spirit – that is those who know their desperate need and cry out to God continuously to fill that great need. 3. God’s goodness should be the topic of our continual thanksgiving and praise. Or seeing it and tasting it should result in continual thanksgiving and praise.