Psalm 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
The nature of God is so vast, I believe it requires an eternity with Him to really know Him. Only those who want to spend an eternity with Him are the ones that will. The Lord affectionately calls those who desire to walk with Him His church. They are are also referred to as the Bride of Christ, the Saints, the Redeemed, the Forgiven, those Blessed of God, or those who walk in the Way.
God loves the world, but He makes special consideration of those who are His. They desire Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and He in turn lavishes love upon them. There are ways that God loves His people, I could never give a comprehensive view of what that looks like either, it is as complex as there are people on the earth. I can however reflect on the ways He has loved me and those I know. This love of God reflects the measure of His goodness, at least in part.
#1. He chastises those He loves
Hebrews 12:6 “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Although chastening may immediately conjure up the idea of a dad taking his son behind the woodshed for a good spanking after rebellion, reflected in (Deuteronomy 8:5), granting discipline necessary for a young one to understand rules and order. Chastening actually has a deeper meaning that reflects a restraining or moderating influence in our lives. We can so easily rush headlong into trouble and our foolishness, (which I’ve been a king of in my youth), leads us quickly into trouble. The Lord will often times guide as from that trouble, especially if we make an attempt to listen. To moderate, is to guide one in their course, like a conductor of an orchestra, directing the parts into a symphony of praise, the Lord conducts our lives. Chastisement, to the children of Israel was one that has been, at times, very painful. Famine, pestilence, disease, oppression from cruel kings, the list goes on, and yet in each case the Lord was calling them back to repentance. Sometimes, it takes a bit more chastising to get through to some people.😊
#2. He protects His people
Psalm 37:40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.
2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
As a mother bird shields her young under her wings, so the Lord places us under His, Psalm 91:4 “And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler, keeping us from harm.” There are so many ways God protects us. This protection is an aspect of God’s goodness that my Dad has shared with me many times. While he fought in Vietnam, my dad was not a believer, but after he began to follow the Lord, the Lord revealed to him the multiple times He protected him during that year of sleeping in jungles, bombs exploding in tents he just left or bullets that missed when they could have ended his life.
Does this mean that no bad thing can happen to you? I don’t think that is the case, I know of far too many faithful believers who suffer from all sorts of maladies, sicknesses, and even died from attack. When we refer to God’s protection, we see that it is your soul that is most valuable to Him, not your body. The body is only temporary. If you happen to live past 76-80 years, you’ve exceeded the average lifespan of an adult. Eternity has been set in our hearts, and the fact that we will dwell with God for eternity, means everything. That is the prize, not just feeling good for a few more years, it’s dwelling a billion years with Him, knowing our Lord and having an eternity still before us. I think one day, many will see how foolish all the prayers for physical healing really were, unless the healing lead them to salvation or others to new life, it’s a very low form of request.
#3. The Lord shows goodness in guidance
Psalm 25:8-9 “Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.”
The leading of the Lord is key to our happiness. His path is one of profound joy and as I mentioned last time, freedom. There is peace in the midst of trouble when we know it is God’s path that He is leading us on. The psalmist knew that God’s path isn’t always easy, “even though I walk through the valley,, of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me”, in Psalm 23. The key isn’t the ease of the journey, it is knowing the path we are on is leading us to Life. The path is narrow and the gate to pass through is small. There is no room for deviation on God’s path but when we remain on it, the promise remains. Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” The Lord not only leads your way, He protects you as you go, where you are most vulnerable, which leads me to the next thought.
#4. The Lord is faithful.
Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good, and His loving devotion endures forever; His faithfulness continues to all generations.
Isaiah 30:21 “And whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”
Faithfulness is a character quality highly valued in society. When I have attempted to share the gospel with people, I ask them what does goodness look like, particularly in a friend, and the most common response is faithfulness. God’s character has many aspects that we try to emulate but being faithful is what makes friendships so strong. We see this in our relationship with Him, He makes many promises to us, and yet when we have those times where we feel all alone, lost, or abandoned, that fact that God never leaves us or forsakes us is what draws us into the closeness we have with Him.
#5. The Lord is kind and forgiving.
Psalm 86:5 “For You, O Lord, are kind and forgiving, rich in loving devotion to all who call on You.
The kindness of the LORD is what leads us to repentance. Titus 3:4-5 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,”
I listed forgiveness along side kindness because the two go hand in hand. The forgiveness of God cannot be earned by our works, it is a reflection of His goodness He has shown to us who have nothing but hopelessness apart from Him. God’s kindness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, it is a quality that is expected to shine forth from a believer who has His Spirit indwelling within them. When we witness a man or woman who acts hateful, whether in speech or in example, it does not reflect Christ. Matter of fact, hatefulness in a person is likened to murder in God’s eyes. 1 John 3:15 “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
How many people show hatred in regards to politics, or policy. There is hatred shown those who don’t agree with their values or those who undervalue what others deem as sacred. Ultimately, we are called to love and love takes many forms, we as people of God, represent Christ to the world, and when we fail in this endeavor, we blaspheme His name before them.
There are many, many other values that reflect God’s goodness, ultimately they all reflect His love. We are called to love, we are commanded to love and when we don’t, we can expect God’s disappointment with us. When we do love, we honor our King, we show the world we are a people of a different Kingdom and hopefully, we lead them to Christ…the One who shows perfect love.
1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”