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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The Biggest Misunderstanding of God’s Love

How do you define love? Affection, allegiance, devotion? 1 Corinthians 13 defines loves as patient, kind, not envying, not arrogant or rude. “It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” In other words – the opposite of anything and everything selfish.

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 39
Key Verse: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Rom. 5:3-4

My dictionary app defines it as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” I’m good with that. But I realized the other night while rocking my two year old that I’ve inadvertently added something to my definition. With his little arms about my neck and his head snuggled tightly against my shoulder I could not deny the overwhelming desire within me to protect him. Forever. From anything and everything hurtful and hard.

Because when you love someone you protect them, right? You walk closest to the road so they can walk in the grass. You kill bugs and spiders and bees. You taste the cottage cheese first to make sure it’s still good. You scream “STOP” at the top of your lungs when they run full steam into a parking lot. (And so on and so forth…you get the idea.)

Because love and protection go hand in hand. They just do. Which is why Genesis 39 puts my head in a tailspin. God loved Joseph. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. He dedicated twelve whole chapters to the retelling of his story. He granted him success  (v. 3, 23). He was with him constantly (v.2, 21, 23). He showed him steadfast love (v. 21). He gave him favor in the sight of his overseers. And wisdom and set him over all the land of Egypt. Yet God did not protect him from hurt and pain and devastating circumstances as my definition of love wants to assume he should have.

Taken unjustly from the vicious hands of his brothers, Joseph served as a slave to the best of his ability. His owner, Potiphar, took note and placed Joseph over everything in his home. Which was all well and good until Mrs. Potiphar noticed “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (v. 6). (A trait he got from his mother – cf. Gen. 29:17.)

Unable to restrain herself, she begged Joseph, “Lie with me.” In other words “Have sex with me.” But he refused, recognizing that to do so would be a sin against God (v.9). Yet she persisted day after day. Talk about temptation! Especially for a lonely young man in his twenties! Not to mention it’s quite likely Mrs. Potiphar was young and beautiful herself.  

But one day she got forceful. Grabbing Joseph by his garment. Probably something like a long t-shirt. So the fact he had to leave his shirt implies she had a pretty good grip on him. Joseph had no choice but to flee. Doing exactly as he should according to 1 Corinthians 6:18. I kind of feel like we should stand up and clap. This is one impressive young man.

But instead of a standing ovation, “his feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron” (Ps. 105:18). Because Mrs. Potiphar lied straight through the skin of her beautiful teeth, falsely accusing Joseph of trying to rape her. (I feel angry just typing that.)

And you know who else was angry? Potiphar. Though I’m not so sure his anger was directed at Joseph or he would have killed him. Caught between a rock and a hard place (i.e. a wayward wife and a public scandal), Joseph was put in jail. And not just any jail – the place where the king’s prisoners went. God was doing something. But do you think Joseph understood that? Or do you think he questioned God’s love for him? “LORD I’ve done everything right! Why is this happening to me?”

Personally, I would set up camp on the questioning side of things. Because when you love someone you protect them from things that hurt right? Well, not necessarily. (And herein lies one of the biggest misunderstandings of God’s love.) According to Scripture sometimes it’s best for us to feel the hurt. Because “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5).

God didn’t protect Joseph from disheartening circumstances because it wasn’t in Joseph’s best interest. God’s goal is not protecting me, it’s sanctifying me (making me more like Christ.) Which is often done through the hard things. The unfair things. The I don’t understand why this is happening things.

His love doesn’t protect us from everything that hurts. His love enables us to get through it.

2 Tim. 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Jesus confirms in John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation.” He tells the disciples in Matthew 24, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” (I know, so uplifting.)

Chances are we’re gonna go through some tough stuff. Sometimes those tough things are our own fault because of sin. Other times, it’s completely out of our control. But it’s never because God’s love is lacking. He never promised to protect us from everything hurtful and hard but He has promised to one day rescue us from it all. Thanks be to God who has “rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13).

My friend God’s love may not always look like we think it should. But rest assured He loves you. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NLT). Just as Jesus has done for you.

Contemplate and Evaluate
Does your definition of love include protection? Has it caused you to question God’s love in hard to understand situations?
How has God’s love enabled you to get through difficult circumstances?

(Photo credit: Pixabay)