6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: You've heard the phrase, "God is good all the time and all the time God is good". But how do we define 'good'?

THAT'S GOOD! (part one)

We've heard the saying, "God is good all the time and all the time God is good." What is good? The word can mean many things. It can refer to something that's of high-quality (that's good stuff). It can refer to someone who's virtuous or moral (he's a good person). It can mean something that's a benefit (that was a good thing you did). It can refer to a person's ability at something (she's good at that).

As an adjective alone the Encarta dictionary listed 28 different uses for the word. But in all of this I think the word good can be subjective. What is good to you might not be good to me. So in many ways the word is left open to interpretation and personal preference. So, can it be truly defined? What is the ultimate measuring stick to determine what is good and what isn't? It all starts with God.

1) God is good.

Psalm 100:5, "For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." When you go through the scriptures, you will see all the ways God is good. In this verse we see that his love endures forever. God's love is the foremost aspect of his goodness. All his goodness stems from his unfailing love.

And God doesn't just love his followers, he loves everyone. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus. Therefore, God's goodness doesn't just extend to his children but to all. Psalm 145:8-9, "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."

God causes goodness to come to everyone. He gives everyone life and blessings. But even though God's goodness comes to those who don't love him, he will deal with those who don't follow him. Prov. 14:14, "The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his." God is good in that he is a just God. He doesn't show favoritism but he rewards those who trust in him.

But even those who trust in him don't always have it good. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused and thrown into prison, he was forgotten by someone who was supposed to help him, etc. What's so good about that? Not much. But despite all this hardship Joseph maintained his devotion to God.

And God used it to bring about his good purposes. Joseph was made second in command in Egypt and he used the wisdom God gave him to plan for the famine. The famine caused Joseph's brothers to go to Egypt in search for food. When Joseph's brothers recognized him they thought he would have them killed. But Joseph had come to see God's hand in turning harm into good. Gen. 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

It would be difficult to have a positive attitude when bad things keep happening. God is good all the time but sometimes it doesn't seem like it. That's because God allows people to make their own choices. But God will use someone's bad choice to bring something good out of it-like he did for Joseph. Rom. 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

There was a king in Africa who had a close friend from childhood. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!" One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king.

The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and blew his thumb off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, the king was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with him. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had happened. "And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail. It was bad for me to do this."

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