God Is Good!
I. Is God only good when the outcome is? When the cancer is in remission, we say “God is good.” When the pay raise comes, we say “God is good.” When our team wins, we believe “God is good.” When the bank account is in the black…we say, “God is good”. But what about when the circumstances are different? Is God still good when you’re in the cemetery? The ICU? In the unemployment line as well as the grocery line? In days of recession as much as in days of provision? Is God always good? II. God is always good. Joseph, our Old Testament character study in this series was an interpreter of dreams. God gave him dreams as just a child, and from the Prison, he was summoned to tell the meaning of Pharaohs’ dreams…Maybe Joseph’s words to Pharaoh will offer some help here . “But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten and wiped out. Famine will destroy the land. The famine will be so terrible that even the memory of the good years will e erased. As for having the dream twice, it means the matter has been decreed by God and that he will make these events happen soon.” Gen.41:30-32 NLT Joseph saw both seasons, the one of plenty and the one of famine beneath the umbrella of God’s jurisdiction. Both were `decreed by God’. Was the calamity that would wipe out multitudes of people God’s idea? Of course not!! God never creates evil. “God can never do wrong! It is impossible for the Almighty to do evil.” Job 34:10 NCV James 1:17NIV “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” In other words, God’s gifts are good because He is good! He is the very essence of good. So, how can One who is good invent anything bad? We also see through the scriptures that He is sovereign! The Bible gives utter and absolute control to His hand-- Daniel 5:22 NIV “The Most High God is sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone He wishes.” If God is sovereign, meaning He rules over everything, and He is good…How do we factor in the presence of calamities, pain and sorrow in God’s world? The Bible teaches that GOD PERMITS IT--- In Mark 5, when demons begged for permission to enter a herd of pigs, He “gave them permission” Ezekiel 20:26 NIV “I let them become defiled…that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord.” Deut. 32:39 NIV “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal.” Ecc. 7:14 NIV “When times are good, be happy: but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” I Tim. 6:15 NIV “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.” He is the controller of all things! God at times allows tragedies, and allows Satan to unleash mayhem. But He doesn’t allow Satan to triumph! Romans 8:298 NIV “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.” God promises to bring beauty out of `all things’, not `each thing.’ The isolated events might be evil, but the ultimate highest point is good! ---For instance, when you sip a cup of coffee, you say, “This is good.” What are you saying? The plastic bag for the beans is good? The beans themselves are good? The hot water…the coffee filter? ..No- Good happens when all these ingredients work together. Bag opened, beans ground, water heated, etc…It is a collective cooperation of the elements that creates good. Famines, heart attacks, or terrorist attacks are not good by any standard. Yet every message in the Bible, especially the story of Joseph, compels us to believe that God will mix them with other ingredients and bring good out of them! But what is God’s definition of good? We define it to include health, comfort, and recognition. God’s definition in Jesus’ case….the good life consisted of struggles, storms and death. But God worked it all together for the greatest of good- His glory and our salvation! III. God is always good. Jesus touches your hurt. Jesus uses your hurt. Jesus feels your hurt. Is God good when the outcome isn’t ? During the famine as well as the feast? The answer comes in the person of Jesus. He is the only picture ever taken of God! Let’s look at Heaven’s clearest answer to the question of suffering---JESUS! He pressed his fingers into the sore of the leper; He felt the tears of the sinful woman who wept. He inclined his ear to the cry of the hungry. He cried at the death of a friend. He stopped his work to tend to the needs of a grieving mother. He doesn’t recoil, run or retreat at the sight of pain. Just the opposite. He didn’t walk the earth in an insulated bubble or preach from a germ- free, pain -free island. He felt the trivial irritations of family life…He heard the cruel accusations of jealous men…. A seemingly senseless death? Just look at the cross. He doesn’t expect anything from us that he hasn’t already experienced. Why? Because He is good! That’s all the explanation He owes us..Besides, if he gave us one, what makes us think we would understand it? ----Suppose the wife of George Frederic Handel came upon a page of the famous oratorio Messiah. ---read it from page 86 Is it possible that the wonders of Heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain? This was Paul’s opinion: II Cor. 4:17 NIV “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Your pain won’t last forever, but you will--- Romans 8:18 Phillips “Whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us.” What is coming will make sense of what is happening now! Let God finish His work. Let the Composer finish His symphony. The forecast is simple. Good days. Bad days. But God is in ALL days! He is the Lord of the feast and the famine, and He uses both to accomplish His will! Video of Laura Story’s song—“Blessings” (I think its on Godtube)