Summary: To receive God’s plan for our lives we must be convinced that His way is better and that means we must absolutely believe God is good, gives only good things to us, and does only good things for us.
Believe God is Good
Reading: Psalm 23
Ill: The story of Rick Burgess: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=27230&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed0121
At some point in our childhood we all have dreams of what our lives should look like, based on our perceptions of where we’ve come from and our expectations on where we want to end up. Our plans come as much from our past as from our hopes of the future.
In western culture, particularly here in America, we are an independent lot, prideful in our abilities to “do for ourselves”, proud of our own accomplishments. This cultural attitude makes it difficult for us to acknowledge let alone accept a very important truth: We don’t have the slightest idea about what is best for ourselves. Apart from God we cannot say what is right and what is wrong. In order for us to receive God’s plan for our lives we must be convinced that His way is better and that means we must absolutely believe God is good, gives only good things to us, and does only good things for us.
I.Believing in God’s Goodness
A.Life and circumstances combine to shape our perception of what is good and what is not.
1.Culture attempts to define our idea of goodness but that definition is capricious and changes as often as the seasons.
2.Jesus attributed the title of good to God alone:
Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.””
3.To accept God’s will and His purpose we must agree with Jesus and believe God is good. Believe in the unchanging goodness of God and the unquestionable goodness of everything He does and provides.
4.Goodness defines His unalterable nature and the quality of His being.
5.He is the source of every good thing, the constructor and completer of His good works.
B.But how does God define the word good?
1.To intentionally believe God is good requires a foundational concept of what good means.
2.Without this we might buy into the definition of good offered by the world or our own self-centered ideas only to discover God is not like any of those things.
a.If we choose to believe good means comfortable, easy, or trouble free then sooner or later we will discover that everything God gives us in this life doesn’t live up to those definitions.
b.Without a firm idea of what God considers good, then the first hard thing that happens to us can cause us to resent or reject God and the plans He has for our lives.
c.If we are to intentionally believe God is good we must first find out what good means.
II.The Goodness of Who God Is
A.Goodness is an attribute of God.
1.Scripture tells us that goodness is a part of the very nature of God and the standard of everything he does.
a.The book of Psalms contains the collection of poems and hymns that were read or sung aloud in worship and praise to God, declaring his nature and character.
b.Psalm 23, perhaps the best known psalm, gives us insight into God’s character by describing Him as our Shepherd.
B.The LORD is my shepherd.
1.The opening verses of this psalm establish God’s role as our Shepherd.
2.He is our provider:
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
a.The shepherd supplies everything needed by the flock.
b.Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us that our needs will be met if we seek His kingdom first.
c.Deuteronomy 8:3c “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
3.He is our guide:
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
a.The shepherd guides his sheep along the right and safe pathways.
b.Psalm 119 tells us that God’s word “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
4.He is our protector:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
a.God does not remove us from the realities of this world or all the difficulties of our lives but as our Shepherd He never leaves us to face them alone.
b.He will always be with us and we will not face our disasters and tragedies and heartaches alone if we walk with Him through our valleys.
c.And in the ultimate battle for eternity, the Good Shepherd will lay down His life for the flock: John 10:11-16.
d.But the goodness of God goes beyond shepherding us. Psalm 23 changes the analogy to include a personal relationship that is beyond shepherding.
C.The Lord as our host.