Tag Archives: good

Through the Bible, August 4

Reading: John 6

Summary: The series of events recorded in today’s reading serves as a microcosm of what the interaction between Jesus as God’s Son and humanity is all about.  It begins with the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, that same crowd misunderstands and misapplies what His miraculous power meant, they pursue Jesus the following day based on less than the best motives, they’re unwilling to be led by Him to understand what following Him really means and consequently cease to follow any longer.  Some, though, resolve to continue to do so.

Devotional Thought:

Don’t Let a Good Relationship Go Bad

It all looked so good but turned out so badly.  The fact is, our relationships, even with Jesus, can quickly and easily go wrong.

What was good?  Upon seeing His signs (healing the sick and feeding the multitude) a very large crowd followed Him and even concluded that He was “the Prophet who is come into the world” (John 6:2,14). At this point everything was exactly as it should be—but not for long.

They immediately wanted to forcefully make Him a king, based on their mistaken ideas about God’s purposes for the Messiah and His people (John 6:15).  The next day Jesus told the crowd their interest in Him really wasn’t motivated by the signs they’d seen, but by the fact that He had fed them (John 6:26).  He encouraged that their concern be for “food that endures to eternal life” instead of “food that perishes” (John 6:27).  They didn’t embrace that encouragement, to say the least.  Instead of following Him more closely as a result of His further instruction, many “turned back and no longer walked with Him” (John 6:66).

Just because some people began by “seeking Jesus” (John 6:24), it doesn’t mean, by any means, that they would end up being His disciple.  All the elements were present for the best outcome: the signs to induce faith, the instruction to clarify understanding, the encouragement from Jesus to get priorities straight.  But all was for naught.

That’s just how it is with following Jesus, though, isn’t it? For us to be blessed as God wants to bless us through His Son, we have to follow Him all the way.  We have to get past the initial “rush”.  We have to accept correction in our thinking and understanding.  We have to adopt His priorities as our own.  We have to understand what Peter confessed, if we turn away from Him we have rejected eternal life (John 6:68).

We would do well to ask, exactly which direction is my relationship with Jesus headed right now?

Through the Bible, June 17

June 17: Zechariah 7-9

Summary: Further messages from God by His prophet Zechariah, including further reminders of the consequences of Israel’s former unfaithfulness, God’s plan’s for Zion, and some specific details regarding the coming Messiah.

Devotional Thought:

Let God Do Good

God is good and wants to do good. That sounds obvious but it’s not always how it works out.

To His people God said, “I purposed…to bring good” (Zech. 8:15).  What He had brought, though, was “disaster” (Zech. 8:14).  Why?  Because “your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent.”

That God is good is unquestionable and undeniable.  But what we receive from Him is not based on His goodness, but rather on us.  So, the prophet tells God’s people what they must do to receive from their good God His goodness, and not disaster.  In short it was, “Love truth and peace” (Zech. 8:19).

Love truth and peace?

God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

Yep, love truth and peace.

Through the Bible, January 3

Read: Genesis 3-5

Summary: Sin enters creation with devastating consequences

All that God had made was good.  It could be no other way.  But one of the primary features (or conditions) of the good creation made by God was man’s capacity to exercise his own will.  God never violated the free moral agency (as it is often called) of man as a part of his place in this world.  That meant that not only could man choose to disobey God, but that he must also suffer very real consequences for that bad choice.

These chapters introduce the major conflict in the Bible’s story line: human sin placing humanity at enmity with God and thus subject to His wrath (Rom. 1:18; 5:8; Eph. 5:6).  The ultimate, eternal plan of God is evident in His response to Adam and Eve’s sin (see Gen. 3:15) to which New Testament makes reference as well (John 13:18; Gal. 3:16).

Sin’s effect extends from destroying man’s relationship to God (Adam and Even driven from the garden) to destroying the closest of human relationships (Cain kills his brother Abel) to wide scale degradation of mankind (the flood–tomorrow’s reading).

Devotional Thought:

Sin is Good

How can that be?  That is how Eve saw the fruit God had forbidden that she or Adam eat.  She observed that it was “good for food…a delight to the eyes, and…desired to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6).

It was “good” but it ruined the blessing of life in the garden.

It was “good” but it damaged the first couple’s marriage.

It was “good” but it destroyed a family.

It was “good” but it made worship worthless.

It was “good” but severed man’s intimate relationship with God.

No matter how “good” we may consider sin to be, it will have the last word and it will destroy what is genuinely good.

Through the Bible, January 1

Read: Genesis 1-2

Summary: The Creation of Heaven and Earth

God’s people need to know where and how and when it all started.  It was true of the Israelites leaving Egyptian servitude–the ones for whom Moses wrote Genesis–and it is no less true for us today.

The words of Genesis 1-2 are frequently diluted and even ridiculed.  Did it really happen the way these passages lay it out?  Were Adam and Eve real, historical persons?  We would do well to remember what Jesus said in regard to what Moses wrote, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:46-47).

Denying the validity of these words carries exceedingly serious consequences.

Devotional Thought:

It’s All Good

What God does is good.  What He makes is good. “Good” and “perfect” are words used to describe what comes from Him (James 1:17). Naturally then, creation itself is called “very good” (Gen. 1:31).

Consider what else God has made: both the family and the church.  They too, having originated with God, are also good.

But “good” isn’t how everyone would describe their experience with one or both of these is it? If so, something is horribly wrong. It’s when we change what God made good into something else, it becomes a source of hurt rather than blessing. The answer is simple (but not necessarily easy), return what God made to His design, purpose, and intent.

Oh yeah, one more thing God has made–and is therefore good: me as His child. Just like man was originally made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), so too now, when I am saved, I am a new creation (Eph. 2:10), made in His image (Col. 3:10).

That being so, how am I doing with being good, as God made me?

My Delight is the Lord, November 29

Yes, Obey

November 29, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Titus 3:1-11

Obedience is a frequently visited subject in religious discussion. Its vital importance cannot be denied (Heb. 5:8-9; Jn. 14:15). But neither should it be elevated to an “end-all-be-all” status either. It appears here in Titus as something about which followers of Jesus should be reminded (v. 1). Actually it’s one in a list of reminders. The others are submission to rulers, readiness for good work, speaking evil of no one, avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all people (vv. 1-2).  Emphasis on one Bible subject ought never to be allowed to overshadow the emphasis on all of what God would have us to know and do. So, yes, obey; but also just as diligently submit, do good works, speak no evil, and so on.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why should we be gentle and courteous to all people? (v. 3)
  • In what way did God’s goodness and loving kindness appear? (v. 4)
  • What is not the basis of our salvation? (v. 5)
  • What is the basis of our justification? (v. 7)

My Delight is the Lord, October 6

Good Is Not Good Enough

October 6, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 14:1-22

Good is better than bad, but sometimes it just isn’t good enough. Amaziah, as a king of Judah, was better than some, but not as good as others. He “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not like David” (v. 3). Further we’re told, “he did in all things as Joash his father had done.” There was much to commend Joash; he repaired the temple following the evil reigns of his grandmother, Athaliah, and his father, Ahaziah. But, he failed to remove the places of worship to false gods (see 12:3). In this regard Amaziah was just like his dad (v. 4). Doing right is all well and good, but failing to combat the advance and practice of evil at the same time is unacceptable. What we do might be quite commendable, but what we fail to do might just be our undoing.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are the “high places”? (v. 4)
  • Whom did Amaziah eliminate? (v. 5)
  • Who prevailed between Amaziah and Jehoash? (vv. 11-12)
  • What did Jehoash destroy? (v. 13)

My Delight is the Lord, August 24

The Best, Not the Good

August 25, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-23

Have you ever heard that the enemy of the best is not the bad or worst, it’s the good? I heard (or rather read) that first from Stephen Covey. Here’s the real danger of this reality, we have a hard time seeing something that is “good” as being a problem. But it can be worse than just a problem, it can be a threat. Is not David’s effort to move the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem a graphic illustration of this truth? He didn’t need convinced of the benefit and gravity of transporting this singular spiritual item from a private residence to the capital city.  Nothing but a brand new cart would do for such a lofty task (v. 3). Such a thought was good, but it wasn’t the best. Unfortunate for Uzzah, the good turned into an enemy. Our intentions are meaningless (or worse), no matter how good they may be, if we disregard God’s instruction. What He says is the best.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is God designated in v. 2?
  • What does Perez-uzzah mean? (v. 8)
  • What was David’s emotional reaction? (v. 9)
  • Where was the ark placed? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, August 20

God is Good, Even in Pain

August 20, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:1-37

Good people doing God’s will and supporting others who do, should expect the blessings of God to follow. Isn’t that right? The experience of the Shunammite woman and Elisha certainly supports that premise. This wealthy woman, along with the backing of her husband, provided some much needed creature comforts for God’s prophet. What happened with these gracious, childless hosts is that they received a son. They had long given up hope of this ever happening. How marvelous. The story doesn’t end there, though, does it? Some years later this boy suddenly died. What had been a source of great joy and celebration now brings bitter distress. Here’s another reminder that the hurt, pain, sorrow, and grief of this life in no way prove God’s failure or much less His absence.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did the Shunammite woman view Elisha? (v. 9)
  • What did Elisha first offer this woman for her goodness? (v. 13)
  • What was the woman’s response to Elisha’s promise? (v. 16)
  • Why did Elisha not know about the condition of the boy? (v. 27)

The Joy of God’s Presence, August 30

August 30, Sunday: God

Scripture Reading—Nahum 1:1-13

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God” (v. 2). Wait, what? “The Lord is good” (v. 7). Oh, ok, that’s better. Why do we like the latter and are uncomfortable with the former? Why does the first make us uneasy and the second we accept without reservation? Is it because we’re seeing these traits as they are in us? When I am jealous and vengeful I am something I should not be. I’ve become small and petty. Jealousy is a product of my flesh prevailing in me (Gal. 5:20) and vengeance is not even my right to possess (Heb. 10:30). I’m not good when these are true of me. But God is jealous and avenging on behalf of those who take refuge in Him. Were He not, we would be at the mercy of those who hate Him. It is good that He is jealous and avenging.

Questions to Ponder:

  • To whom are the vengeance and wrath of God directed? (v. 2)
  • What is God’s “way”? (v. 3)
  • How does the earth respond to the wrath of God? (v. 5)
  • Who can stand before God’s indignation and endure the heat of His anger? (v. 6)

The Joy of God’s Presence, January 18

January 18, Sunday: God

Scripture Reading— Psalm 31

God is ____________. That blank is not long enough. God is so many things and is so great. This kind of simple little exercise seems wholly inadequate. Still, we must begin somewhere. We must be shown, we must be reminded, we must have impressed on our own minds who God is and what He is like. Of course, God has provided no end of information to us about Himself. It begins with what He has created (see Psa. 19:1-6), it is shown in the record of His dealing with man, and is found also in the words of those who know Him and seek for Him. The author of Psalm 31 sees God as righteous, faithful, good, and full of steadfast love. God leads and He listens and is mindful of those who are His. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (v. 24).

Questions to Ponder:

  • How does man want God to act on his behalf? (v. 2)
  • Who in the New Testament uses the words of verse 5?
  • What is in God’s hand? (v. 15
  • What must we do in respect to God’s action and work? (v. 24)