Summary: God wants us to see His goodness, but we need to have faith, truth and brokenness to do so
“Experience The Goodness Of God”
David P. Nolte
We all want to experience good things in life: good health; good relationships; good reputations; good jobs; good food; good times.
Philosophers have tried to define the “greatest good.” Epicurus believed that pleasure was the greatest good and that it came from minimizing desires. Plato said, “the greatest good for a man is to discuss virtue [excellence] every day.” Aristotle considered happiness the greatest good.
We may experience all that and more and miss the greatest of all good – the goodness of God.
What kind of people does God choose to bless with His goodness? What kind of people have lives opened to His goodness? Let’s check the Scripture:
“By experience you will see that the Lord is good; happy is the man who has faith in Him. Keep yourselves in the fear of the Lord, all you His saints; for those who do so will have no need of anything. The young lions are in need and have no food; but those who are looking to the Lord will have every good thing. Come, children, give attention to me; I will be your teacher in the fear of the Lord. What man has a love of life, and a desire that his days may be increased so that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from words of deceit. Be turned from evil, and do good; make a search for peace, desiring it with all your heart. The eyes of the Lord are on the upright, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to take away the memory of them from the earth. The cry of the upright comes before the Lord, and He takes them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near the broken-hearted; He is the Savior of those whose spirits are crushed down.” Psalm 34:8-18 (BBE).
So, to experience, to taste and see, that God is good and is the greatest good consider that:
I. WE NEED TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH:
A. “Happy is the man who has faith in Him.” The word for “faith” means, “to flee to Him for protection; to confide in Him; to have hope in Him; to make Him our refuge; and to trust Him.”
1. Is not knowledge, but belief: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the sign that the things not seen are true. For by it our fathers had God's approval.” Hebrews 11:1-2 (BBE).
2. Is not an option: “And without faith it is not possible to be well-pleasing to Him, for it is necessary for anyone who comes to God to have the belief that God is, and that He is a rewarder of all those who make a serious search for Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (BBE).
3. Is not merely academic belief or agreement with truth: “You have the belief that God is one, and you do well: the evil spirits have the same belief, shaking with fear.” James 2:19 (BBE).
4. Faith is belief that trust and obeys.
5. Faith is something practical that we do, not just something we think about theoretically.
C. We need faith in
1. God’s word: that it is true and right.
2. God’s promises: that they hold fast and will be fulfilled.
3. God’s love: that it is everlasting.
4. God’s goodness: that it is satisfying and sufficient.
D. The song said, “Men of faith rise up and sing, of the great and glorious King.” Let us be men and women of faith that acts! Less than that is dead faith.
E. To illustrate dead faith, it is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says, “I'm sure they're correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it.” But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn't lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won't take it. That's dead faith."
II. WE NEED TO BE PEOPLE OF TRUTH:
A. “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from words of deceit.” The word for “deceit’ means, “guise, falsehood, treachery.” All the antithesis of truth.
1. As the song said, “Rise up women of the truth, stand and sing to broken hearts.” Rise up all people of truth!
2. God loves truth and despises lies.
3. “Jesus said to the Jews who had faith in Him, ‘If you keep My word, then you are truly My disciples; And you will have knowledge of what is true, and that will make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (BBE).