"You art good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes."
One day I was nursing my third child when my five year old son ran in to announce, "I just lead Robin (age 3) in the sinner's prayer!" Then he looked over at the baby who could not talk as of yet, and could in no wise repeat the sinner's prayer after him, and said, "Too bad about her." Like I've said before, that baby grew up in the cacophony of our household of hyperactive older siblings saying, "I'm being good, mommy," in obvious contrast to the other two. Have you ever tugged on God saying, "I'm being good"?
This verse isn't quite as succinct as when God said, "It is good," or "It is very good," but it is pretty close for a Psalmist or for any of us. If all the Bible said was, "God is good, and because He is good He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and to rise again to conquer sin and death," it would be enough. We would cry with the Psalmist, "Teach me!"
It is however fascinating that the one rule in the Garden
to which Adam and Eve gave into the temptation of
was that when God said,
"Don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,"
they took the first bite.
God had shown them all kinds of good,
the whole good, nothing but the good, so help me God!
but as a good father, He did not want them to discover the flip side,
the side that was not of God.
In the Treasury of David commentary we read...
"Thou art good, and doest good. Even in affliction God is good and does good...He has a monopoly of goodness for there is none good but one. (Jesus said so.)...He is actively beneficent."
"Philo said, the first being must needs be the first good. As soon as we conceive that He is good.
As to His nature, He is originally good, good in Himself and good to others; as the sun hath light in himself and giveth light to all other things. Goodness to us is an accessory quality or superadded gift; but in God it is not a quality, but His essence. In a vessel that is gilded with gold, the gilding or luster is a superadded quality; but in a vessel all of gold, the luster and the substance are the same. God is infinitely good...There is nothing to limit the perfection of God or give it any measure. He is an ocean of goodness without banks or bottom. Alas! What is our drop in this ocean! God is immutably good."
Just to think of such an unending ocean of God's goodness. No wonder He can cast our sins in the deepest sea of forgetfulness. His goodness remembers it no more. Oh, the deep, deep, love of Jesus! His goodness has no bottom, it has no limits or boundaries. It is not even limited by the universe. It goes to infinity and beyond! Even our oceans are bound by its beaches where God commands it to go no further. Goodness is who He is and what He does. When in creation God in His next breath said, "It is good," then that makes us just a breath away from the forgiveness of God to run back to His goodness when we are repentant of our sin. Then we may cry, "Teach me!"
H. Emmons says of the goodness of God,
"It is absolutely pure, and free from everything of a selfish or sinful nature."
John Gill says, "...even as regards ourselves, pain and sorrow are not only salutary warnings against impurity and excess, but when rightly bourne, they uplift us in every other respect. They help us endure 'as seeing Him who is invisible,' they make us yearn for unrealized ideals beyond our moods and vulgar comforts, they turn us from the near and present to the distant and future;
they enable us to pass the death-doom on our mean and shivering egotisms. Take even the most innocent of sorrows--the aching anguish of bereavement. When we have lost those whom we have loved, has it not been to thousands simply a golden chain between their heart and Gods.
I love that image of God's goodness that causes us to yearn for unrealized ideals, the beyond, the distant and future, even beyond the death-doom, that turns it into a golden link to the heart of God.
This is the groaning of all creation that craves to see the perfection of His goodness. It will be the satisfaction of all yearnings when we see Him in His glory: when Moses asked to see His glory, He showed him His goodness, unbearably brilliant.
Until we accept that God is good, we have no hope or faith or trust in Him. God is not the great rug-puller-outer. Charles Bridges says, "The blessed effects and chastisement, as a special instance of the Lord's goodness, might naturally lead to an acknowledgement of His general goodness in His own character and His unwearied disposition of love...judging in unbelief haste a feeble sense of His frown, when the eye of faith discerns a smile upon His face."
"Unwearied disposition of love."
Yep, that's a good description of God's goodness.
Aren't you glad!