Tag Archives: good

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)

A Week in the Word, August 3-9

 

Theme: God – God is…

The magnitude of God surpasses the capacity of human comprehension.  Still, Scripture encourages us on the path of understanding God.  “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord” (Jer. 9:24).

So, the question is, how can we even begin to comprehend the incomprehensible?  Obviously, we need to begin smaller.  As is also true of ourselves, God is not simple or single-faceted in His nature.  Our previous readings under the theme of God have already delved into His sovereignty, His holiness, and His majesty and glory.  This week we’ll look into several other attributes.

Our first group of passages serve as catalogues of some of God’s greatest qualities.  Following that we’ll focus on God’s love, His righteousness and justice, and finally His goodness and kindness.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8-9; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2

God is gracious and compassionate and merciful.  These passages all string together series of qualities of God. No matter what else we may be prompted to think of God, these are always true of Him and should not be forgotten.

Deuteronomy 7:7-9; John 3:16; Romans 5:3-8; 8:35-39; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:4-7; 3:14-19; 1 John 3:16-18; 4:7-21

The fact that God is love is one of the very best known statements in Scripture about God’s nature.  The two references from 1 John are far from the only such statement.  God’s love is expressed repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 5:8; 7:11; 9:7-8; 11:7; 31:1; 33:5; 35:28; 36:6, 10; 45:4; 48:10; 50:6; 71:19; 85:9-13; 89:14; 97:2; 98:9; 111:3; 112:4; 116:5; 119:137, 142; Isaiah 5:16; 9:7; 41:10; 45:13; Romans 3:21-26

Though one can find any number of combinations of these numerous qualities of God in a variety of places in  Scripture, two that are quite frequently paired are God’s justice and righteousness.  There are a number of passages to be read in this list—particularly from Psalms—most are single-verse readings.

We devoted an entire week to readings on God’s holiness, it would be easy, and perhaps preferable, to do the same with God’s righteousness and justice.  If one were to create a “short list” of qualities that describe God and must also be true of His children, the list would certainly contain these.

Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 2:3

We finish this week’s readings with a series of texts extolling both the goodness and kindness of God.  When we consider the godliness which is to be a part of our lives as His children (see Titus 2:12), these traits would be an excellent place to begin.

Study/Thought Questions:

Exodus 34:6-7

  • What traits and qualities does God claim for Himself in these verses?

2 Chronicles 30:9

  • Because God is gracious and merciful, what will He not do?

Psalm 86:15

  • In what does God abound?

 Joel 2:13

  • Because God is gracious and merciful, what should men do?

Deuteronomy 7:7-9

  • What had God “set” upon His people? (v. 7)

John 3:16

  • What did God’s love prompt Him to do?

Romans 5:3-8

  • What has been poured into our hearts? (v. 5)
  • How has God shown His love? (v. 8)

Romans 8:35-39

  • What can separate us from the love of God? (vv. 38-39)

Galatians 2:20

  • How is the Son of God described for whom Paul lives his life by faith?

Ephesians 1:4-5

  • Read these verse in the ESV or NASB.  What has God done for us “in love”?

Ephesians 2:4-7

  • When did God love us? (v. 5)

Ephesians 3:14-19

  • What surpasses knowledge? (v. 19)

1 John 3:16-18

  • How do we know love? (v. 16)

1 John 4:7-21

  • From where is love? (v. 7)
  • What should we do since God loved us? (v. 11)

Psalm 7:11

  • What kind of judge is God?

Psalm 9:7-8

  • With what does God judge the world?

Psalm 33:5

  • What does God love?

Psalm 36:6, 10

  • What is God’s righteousness like?  His judgments? (v. 6)

Psalm 48:10

  • What fills God’s right hand?

Psalm 71:19

  • How far does God’s righteousness reach?

Psalm 85:9-13

  • What do righteousness and peace do? (v. 10)

Psalm 89:14

What are the foundations of God’s throne? (see also 97:2)

Isaiah 5:16

  • How does God show Himself holy?

Isaiah 41:10

  • With what will God uphold us?

Romans 3:21-26

  • How has the righteousness of God been manifested? (vv. 21-22
  • Why did God show His righteousness? (v. 26)

Romans 2:4

  • What is to lead to repentance?

Romans 11:22

  • What is paired with God’s severity?

Titus 3:4-7

  • What appeared when God saved us? (vv. 4-5)

1 Peter 2:3

  • What may we “taste” about the Lord?

Meditation Thoughts:

  • In what ways is God merciful and gracious?
  • When God’s actions don’t set well with our understanding of goodness and kindness, how do we proceed in our thinking about God?
  • What do I hold to as proof of God’s love for me, personally?
  • If God is characterized by goodness and kindness, how, in practical ways, might I become more godly?

Memory Verse: 

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7)