7 Evidences God is Good (Found in the Most Unlikely of Places)

“God is good.” Have you said it? Perhaps on the heels of a promotion or a problem solved or a pleasant night with family or friends, you’ve felt the words swell in your heart until it broke through on your lips.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 20:13-21
Key Verse: “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.” Psalm 25:8

Nothing wrong with that! I praise the LORD alongside you for his kindness toward mankind. Though it’s not our circumstances that make God good. It’s not the outcome of a situation that determines God’s virtue. He is good with or without us. He is good whether we’re happy or sad. Whether our dreams come true or crumble to pieces.

All the time, His steadfast goodness pours forth, in ways we can’t even comprehend. Even amid the Ten Commandments, His goodness shines brightly. Though on the surface, it may not seem like it with a list of “you shall not’s” a mile long.

A list that reads like this: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Ex. 20:13-17).

Phew! And if that isn’t enough, Jesus took each of these rules a step further by making it not just a command of action but of heart.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

And then He went on…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

It’s condemning, isn’t it? How can any man live that perfectly? The answer is, we can’t. It will never happen. It’s impossible to measure up to God’s perfect standards. Which is why salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law (Galatians 2:16).

(Our first evidence that He is good.)

But we should still try. Because God’s law is not just a list of “shall not’s” for the sake of making life hard on us, but as a parent sets rules for a child, they are there for our protection! Take the sixth commandment for example, “You shall not murder.”  Not only is it flat out wrong to unjustly take the life of another, but the hatred that comes first will ruin anyone who embarks on such a path.

And the envy and anger and bitterness that comes before the hatred will eat you alive. Holding you captive. Keeping you from a life of peace and joy. Therefore God said, “Don’t even think about it.” Not because He’s mean but because He’s loving. Caring so much about the life we’re living He gave us the stipulations necessary to live well. Making the sixth commandment more than just a command not to murder, but a protection over life, the very life we’re living right now. (Our second piece of evidence that God is good.)

(Side Note: If it’s not okay for us to do it, then why is it okay for us to watch it on TV? Just a little something to think about.)

But what about the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery,” can we see God’s goodness there? You better believe it. It’s God who gave us marriage. It’s God who brought the first man and woman together. (Evidence enough in my opinion.) Establishing an intimacy so deep and fragile it’s to be guarded with a valid effort.

An effort that involves not even looking on another with lust. Because if you do – it’s like pouring gasoline all over a dry wheat field and then waiting for the lightning to strike. And God knows the lightning will strike. And it will hurt. And it will leave you scarred and broken. So don’t even look He says. Guard your mind and heart and body. Give it only to the one you’ve pledged your life to because the alternative is crushing.

Then the eighth, “You shall not steal.” With God over everything, there’s no need to take from another. He is the provider. So stealing is not just a sin against a brother, it’s a lack of trust in the Almighty and a pitfall to much worse. Like pride for example. By taking what rightfully belongs to someone else we place ourselves in the seat of God. For if all things are His, is it not His right to determine who they belong to?

Therefore, the eight commandment is not just a protection of property but a protection against pride. Against falling into a pit so deep we’re not sure which way is up. Only a good God would give us such a parameter. (Offering us our fourth piece of evidence.)

But what about the ninth, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Does it declare God’s goodness too? When viewed in light of what it protects, which is truth, relationships and integrity, His goodness regarding the ninth commandment cannot be denied. In reality, it’s a protection against falling prey to the father of lies (John 8:44). It’s a push to live in step with a God who is truth (John 14:6). (Our fifth piece of evidence.)

Then we come to the tenth. “You shall not covet.” Do you know what this really is? It’s the secret to a happy life. Stuff does not bring joy. It does not lead to satisfaction; it leads to emptiness. But “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). To be content with what you have is to possess a peaceful heart. And could there be any greater earthly possession? (Other than the certainty of eternal life of course.)

And you know, God didn’t have to share that secret with us. But He did. Giving us our sixth piece of evidence today that God is indeed good.

As a loving parent does, God set the rules, though he knew we’d break them.  He knew we’d fall short. But instead of punishing us as we deserve, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment for us. To bear the iniquity that is ours. And that my friend is our seventh piece of evidence. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8) And there is no greater evidence of His goodness than that.

A goodness independent of my circumstances. Independent of my good days and bad. Unchanging in nature. Unyielding. A goodness able to soften even the hardest of hearts. Indeed, God is good my friend. Indeed, He is good.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
How do you generally view God’s commands, as parameters with a purpose, or as a bunch of rules that zap all the fun out of life?
Do you truly believe God is good all the time? Why or why not?

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When It’s OK to Ask for Directions

“I don’t care! We’re going!” Ever said it? Mhmm I have. With colorful determination, on more than one occasion. Like last winter when I was super excited to go with Kreg to a Monsanto Seed Conference (A.K.A. a 24 hour mommy getaway). Not that I was excited about spending hours in a conference room listening to things I really didn’t understand. No, No. I had plans and let me assure you they did not involve a conference room. Though good food, HGTV, and a new book were absolutely on the agenda.

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 46:1-27
Key Verse: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

But when the day arrived the roads were slicker than snot. Somehow a whole lot of fog had turned into a whole lot of ice. (I know. Ridiculous.) But we were STILL GOING. A little ice was not going to stop me from enjoying 24 hours free of children. Though you’d think I would have taken a hint when it took us fifteen minutes just to safely drive to Kreg’s parents house. A mere two miles down the road – to drop off those lovely children – who now had the day off school.

But I was determined. And utterly dismayed when the Monsanto representative called a few minutes later to inform us the whole thing was indeed cancelled. “What? But why?”

Mmmhmm. Sadly from the get go I had absolutely no intention of praying about whether or not we should go. I just wanted to go! Which is exactly the mindset I would have pictured Jacob in after finding out Joseph was still alive. “Pack it up boys. We are out of here!”

But instead of hightailing it straight to Egypt because nothing and no one was going to stop him from getting to his boy! Jacob (called Israel in this segment because of his remarkable faithfulness) heads to Beersheba to offer sacrifices and seek the LORD just as Abraham and Isaac had done at Beersheba years before.

Just let that sink in for a moment…in spite of the excitement and urgency Jacob must have felt to go and get there and be with Joseph – he stopped to worship the LORD and seek his will. (Anyone else need this today?)

He checked to make sure it was ok because many years before when Isaac had tried to go to Egypt during a famine, God had said no. And when Abraham went it caused problems we are still dealing with today (Hagar and Ishmael and the unrest among certain Arab nations).

But wouldn’t you know, this time, God said yes! “Jacob, Jacob…Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation” (v. 3). It was absolutely, without a doubt, no question God’s will for Jacob to take his family to Egypt.

It not only fulfilled the prophecy God had spoken to Abraham (Genesis 15) and protected Jacob and his family from perishing in the famine. But allowed them to grow in a protected environment from seventy persons (v. 27) to a multitude likely numbering in the millions. (cf. Exodus 1:7)

God had a plan and it was so much bigger than Jacob and Joseph and Judah and the rest of them. It went well beyond their survival and emotional reunion. It was about a people He would form a covenant with. And dwell among. And lead and love and lavish with blessing. A people He would make into a nation. A people He would use as a vessel to bring blessing to all the families of the earth through the birth and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In reality it was not about them at all; it was about Jesus. Who is before all things and holds all things together and whom all things were created through and for (Col. 1:16-17). And who redeems and reconciles us to God by “making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20).

And the moment we realize life’s not about us but about Jesus, is the moment we’ll really start living. Because until we recognize his sovereignty in our lives, we won’t surrender to his will.

Which is exactly what Jacob did when he made a pit stop in Beersheba to worship God. (In my opinion, one of the finest moments of his life.) I have no doubt he wanted to go to Egypt. His boy was there. The firstborn of his beloved Rachel. But I wholeheartedly believe if God had said no that day; If God had said “You can go, but I won’t go with you,” Jacob would have stayed right where he was. Smack dab in the middle of a famine stricken Canaan.

Because he now understood God’s will was better than his own. He recognized God’s sovereignty in his life and that of his family. And no matter how desperate he wanted to lay his hands on Joseph if it wasn’t God’s will, he wasn’t going.

This is the goal my friend, to surrender to God’s will with dignity and determination, no matter how badly we long for something. No matter how much we think we need it. To stop and ask God is the mark of a true follower of Christ. Because we know he won’t lead us astray. He might lead us down paths and through streams and up mountains we never thought we could go; never thought we could get through. But never astray.

Yet we struggle to seek God first. Afraid of what he might say. Afraid of what he might make us do. Certain if we surrender, by this time next year, we’ll be taking up residence in a paper box or a remote African village. (Am I right?)

But we don’t need to be afraid. God’s will is good. God’s will is best. God’s will is a life worth living. It’s where we experience His presence. Look at what the LORD says to Jacob. “I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again” (v.4). God would be with him the entire time and there’s nothing more thrilling than the continuous company of the Savior.

Secondly, God’s will is full of blessings – “Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” (v.4). What a joy for Jacob to know he would live the remainder of his days near Joseph.  

My friend, we need not be afraid to ask Him first. We need not fear His will for our lives. He is a loving and gracious Father who absolutely knows how to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11). “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt. 6:33; NLT) So go ahead ask – for directions. 

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do you daily surrender to God’s will or do you hesitate because you’re afraid of what He might make you do?
What decision or situation or longing do you need to lay before the Father today?

Truths to Remember When the Unthinkable Happens

I don’t know what’s happened in your life the past week but I know God is still the same God he was a week ago, a year ago, ten years ago, two thousand years ago, and beyond. He is still “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). And He always will be.

Even when the hard things happen. The things that leave us with more questions than we have answers. More doubt than we have certainty. More fear than we have faith.

This world is not what He hoped to give us, though he knew it would happen. He knew sin would leave its scar on us all. He knew death would overshadow us. He knew life would not be easy. But he also knew his love could overcome it all. “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jesus has overcome my friend! And I don’t know about you, but I sometimes need that reminder. Along with a few others:

  1. God is forever faithful. It’s who He is. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9). It’s who He’s always been. And who He will always be. His faithfulness endures to all generations. (Psalm 119:90) “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness” (Psalm 33:4).
  1. God’s mercy is new every morning. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23). Even when the morning brings heartbreaking news. Even when the day doesn’t end as it should, He is still merciful.
  1. He is close to the brokenhearted. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). This is one of my all time favorite verses. I have it highlighted, underlined, and circled in every Bible I own. He cares my friend. He is near the brokenhearted. Waiting to comfort. Waiting to instill hope and peace. If we would simply turn to Him.  
  1. God is good (Ps. 25:8). And does good (Ps. 119:68). Even when I don’t see it. Even when I don’t understand or can’t explain it. He is still good. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11).  
  1. God is sovereign. He’s in complete and total control. “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11). Though it may not seem like it. Though it may feel as though God has turned his back. He has not. He works all things according to his purpose. Which is for “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4.)
  1. He has gone to prepare a place for us. (John 14:3). This life is not the end. It’s only a beginning for those who confess Jesus as LORD and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). These “momentary afflictions” will be far outweighed by an eternal glory we now cannot even begin to comprehend! (2 Cor. 4:17) There is so much waiting for us. Heaven is not a figment of our imaginations, it’s simply more than we could ever imagine. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
  1. Jesus is coming back. He really is. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).

These are truths we can stand on every single day my friend. Truths that are constant and unchanging. Truths we can share no matter one’s nationality or personality or upbringing or lack thereof. Truths the entire world needs to hear. Truths we can live by and wrap ourselves in when uncertainty is the path before us. Truths we can sometimes forget. But not today. Today we remember, even in the hard things. Even in the unthinkable things. 

(Photo credit: Pixabay)