God Is Good. . . All the Time
For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 (NASB)
When I’ve been praying about a situation for a long time, maybe even years, and I see no evidence of it being resolved, I wonder about a promise like the one in Psalm 84:11. If God isn’t going to withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly, why hasn’t He answered my request?
Then I thought about chocolate, which sad to say, is something I think about often! Chocolate is good in the sense that it is tasty, and if it’s dark chocolate, the antioxidants it contains are actually healthful. However, I can’t eat chocolate every time I want it. Eating too much chocolate isn’t good for me—a chocolate-rich diet can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and/or insomnia.
“Good” is always a relative term. When God promises that He won’t withhold what is good, He is defining good in an eternal sense, not in a temporal sense. What is most beneficial in the eternal sense for me and for my loved ones? What will fit perfectly into His divine plan for all of humanity? I don’t know the answers to those questions, so it’s impossible for me to determine what is “good” and “not good” from God’s perspective.
In Psalm 34:10 David said, “those that seek the LORD lack no good thing” even though he was homeless and practically friendless when he wrote those words. Throughout his life he prayed for “good” things that God didn’t answer in the way he desired. His best friend Jonathan was killed, his son Absalom revolted against his father’s reign, the infant son Bathsheba bore died. Yet David still believed in God’s inherent goodness and declared near the end of his life, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” (Psalm 37:25).
I’ll probably never understand “goodness” as God does, but I can declare by faith that “You are good, and what you do is good”; and I can pray, “teach me your decrees” (Psalm 119:68).
Four of God’s good gifts are listed in Psalm 84:11. How is God both a sun and a shield for us? How are those attributes also gifts that affect our daily lives? In what ways are grace and glory gifts we enjoy now and will also enjoy in heaven?
Read Psalm 34. David wrote this psalm during the ten-year period he was hiding from King Saul. (See 1 Samuel 21 for the historical context). Which of God’s good gifts does he mention in the psalm?
What does James say about the source of all “good” gifts in James 1:17? Why do you think James talks about “good and perfect” gifts right after he talks about temptation in verses 13-15?
Denise K. Loock