TEEN TREE           OF LIFE

God’s Goodness – Part 12

June 20, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

As we come to the end of our study of God’s Goodness, let’s be reminded that God blessed Solomon with more discernment and wisdom than any of us will ever have — and yet he fell. Hard! His desire for so many women and their gods, blinded him to his love for God. Like Solomon, our hearts can be fickle. This is because of our Old Sin Nature. While we’re not likely to marry seven hundred spouses who want us to worship their own gods (like Solomon did), we will always have Old Sin Natures. This means the potential exists for each of us to allow people, projects, and passions to take the place of God in our lives.

 

Solomon’s example reminds us that we are not immune from the change that can enter our hearts when we fall in love with something besides God. It also reminds us of the horrific destruction that can follow when we seek to protect that love.

 

We have to remember that no matter how long we’ve been living in God’s Plan for our lives, and no matter what we’ve accomplished as Christians, we are and always will be vulnerable to falling, like Solomon did, while living in the cosmic system. Our Old Sin Natures are always with us while we walk this earth. Solomon’s fall into idolatry ultimately toppled a kingdom. Our fall could mean toppling our families, our relationships, or any of our accomplishments.

 

The warning we take away from Solomon’s life isn’t meant to scare us; it’s meant to steady us. It’s meant to highlight that no matter how many gifts God has given us or how faithfully we’ve walked with him, we need remember to fix our gaze on Him daily. We need to remember how far He’s taken us and that only He can take us safely all the way to the finish line.

 

1 Kin 4:32 (The Message Bible) tells us this about Solomon: God gave Solomon wisdom—the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts. There was nothing beyond him, nothing he couldn’t handle. Solomon’s wisdom outclassed the vaunted wisdom of wise men of the East, outshone the famous wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, wiser than Heman, wiser than Calcol and Darda the sons of Mahol. He became famous among all the surrounding nations. He created 3,000 proverbs; his songs added up to 1,005. He knew all about plants, from the huge cedar that grows in Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows in the cracks of a wall. He understood everything about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Sent by kings from all over the earth who had heard of his reputation, people came from far and near to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. His wisdom covered just about every topic, and rulers from all nations came to Israel to hear his proverbs. Hundreds of Solomon’s proverbs are preserved in the Book of Proverbs alongside some of his poems and the wisdom of others. Some of them are instructions, and others are simply observations, but together they promote the pursuit of wisdom, justice, and righteousness. And still, with all the wisdom that Solomon had, sensuality and arrogance brought about his utter deterioration.

 

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, he depicted his own dissatisfaction with even life itself. All rivers ran into Solomon’s sea: wisdom and knowledge, wine and women, wealth and fame, music, and songs; he tried them all, but because God had been left out, all of it was worthless in the end. Little is written about the last years of Solomon’s life. 1KIN 11: 42-43 (The Message Bible) tells us this: Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. He died and was buried in the City of David his father. His son Rehoboam was the next king.

 

The take-away here is that you’ll always desire to have material things and there’s nothing wrong with having wealth and expensive homes, cars and clothes. But all of it is meaningless without God. When we look for material things to make us happy, we will end up miserable. The only true happiness in life is sharing God’s Happiness which can only come out of a healthy, active relationship with Him. And our relationship with Him can only be developed by studying His Word.

 

Solomon’s life stands as an example that God’s Goodness exists despite seeking happiness apart from a relationship with Him. It teaches us that God’s Goodness will still reach us no matter who we might become as a result of the bad choices we might make in our lives. God’s Word teaches us that He will always show us how Good He is: Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good. His faithful love continues forever. Who can speak enough about the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can praise him as much as he should be praised? Blessed are those who always do what is fair. Blessed are those who keep doing what is right. (PSA 106:1-3 New International Readers’ Version) And always remember that keeping your focus on Him, and staying in His Plan, will eliminate many great hardships in your life on earth.

 

1 JOH 1:5 (The Message Bible) states: This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him. God does allow us to endure the consequences of disobedience and bad choices. David and Solomon are examples of this. God also allows the pain and suffering of the fallen world we live in to affect us. But He cannot be anything but Who He is, and He is Good. In His Goodness, God chose to save humanity through Jesus Christ. There is no greater example of goodness – ever!!

 

But we must be mindful that we suffer the consequences of our own sin. All suffering occurs because sin has consequences. Solomon taught us that. We also suffer the consequences of other people’s sins. And we suffer the consequences of living in a fallen world that does not function according to God’s Original Design. None of this means that God is not Good or that He’s lost control. These things demonstrate His Tolerance and Patience.

 

God both proclaims and demonstrates Himself to be Good, and that Goodness is the basis for our hope. Christians who waver in their faith and question God’s Goodness need to be encouraged to grow in His Grace and Knowledge. They need to follow The Lord Jesus Christ so that they can understand God and trust Him even when they’re going through difficult times – and most especially when those difficult times are brought on by their own bad volitional choices!!

 

Believers have to understand and trust that God is Good. Look at what Paul taught in ROM 8:28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. When he writes “all things,” he means each and every circumstance that we might experience – including pain and suffering. “Work” must be understood in light of God taking action in the world. He is the one who causes all things to work together. He works in and through all circumstances toward a specific end. What is that end? That end is “good.”

 

The word “good” does not necessarily mean happy or painless or financially successful or our idea of the best possible outcome on any given day. God works in and through us toward an ultimate good that serves His Purpose for the universe. The comfort of ROM 8:28 is that nothing in this life of waiting and suffering is wasted. It is all meaningful for those in Christ, even if that doesn’t diminish our pain in the moment.

 

The most common objection to the claim that God is Supremely Good (as well as All-Powerful and All-Knowing) is the existence of evil. If God is All-Knowing and All-Powerful and Perfectly Good, people ask, “Why does evil exist?” Philosophers debate this question endlessly. Some solve the problem by saying that Satan’s free will and then, later, man’s free will brought about evil and that God was not involved in causing it. He wanted beings who would be able to make free will choices and evil exists as a choice.

 

Ultimately, the issue comes down to believing the Bible, which clearly presents God as always Good: Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His mercy is everlasting. (PSA 106:1) Look at PSA 135:3 which tells us: Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.

 

            NAHUM 1:7 (New International Reader’s Version) puts it this way: The Lord is good.     When people are in trouble, they can go to him for safety. He takes good care of those who trust in him. It is also God’s Goodness that leads us to turn away from our sins: Do you disrespect God’s great kindness and favor? Do you disrespect God when he is patient with you? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is meant to turn you away from your sins? (ROM 2:4 New International Reader’s Version)

 

God’s Goodness provides a source of encouragement and hope for the future when we are facing difficult times. Both the historical narrative of the nation of Israel and the early church are part of that. We find confidence in God in the present by examining His Faithfulness to His people in the past. For example, in EXODUS 1:15-21 (New International Reader’s Version) the Hebrew midwives would not carry out Pharaoh’s edict to murder baby boys when they were born: The king of Egypt had a talk with the two Hebrew midwives; one was named Shiphrah and the other Puah. He said, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the sex of the baby. If it’s a boy, kill him; if it’s a girl, let her live.” But the midwives had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the king of Egypt ordered; they let the boy babies live. The king of Egypt called in the midwives. “Why didn’t you obey my orders? You’ve let those babies live!” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous. Before the midwife can get there, they’ve already had the baby.” God was pleased with the midwives. The people continued to increase in number—a very strong people. And because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.

 

Another example is found in JOSH 21:45 (New International Reader’s Version): The Lord kept all the good promises he had made to the Israelites. Every one of them came true. In His Goodness, God is faithful to His promises. This is an encouragement to obey Him and a warning about disobeying Him.

 

Paul cites God’s Goodness in several passages as the reason to have hope in the present for the future. Those same truths still apply to us today. Look at 2 THESS 2:16-17 (New International Reader’s Version): Our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father loved us. By his grace God gave us comfort that will last forever. The hope he gave us is good. May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father comfort your hearts. May they make you strong in every good thing you do and say.

 

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