THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN HIS NATURE AND DEEDS 04/02/2011
Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes (Psalm 119:68).
Psalm 106 begins: “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is
good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” The first 12 verses of this psalm recall
the goodness of the Lord as we look upon His deeds.
As wesurvey the context of our text, we find the same blessed principle taught
in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus.”
I want you to see the harmonious rhythm in those who serve the Lord.
The threeverses preceding our text are a blessed harmony of prayer and
thanksgiving. Look at Psalm 119:65-67: “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O
LORD, according unto thy word [which harmonizes with the prayer]. Teach me good
judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments [this leads to a
confession of his wayward nature]. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now
have I kept thy word.”
In our text David bursts forth with praises to God for His faithfulness in
dealing with him as a son, with a chastening hand. The Lord chastens those He
loves. “Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:68).
Our tendency is to go astray, but God with His afflicting hand brings us back
into His service.
David sees the tender love of God in His chastening hand.
Our textraises three distinct issues for consideration.
The first is the nature of God: “Thou art good.”
The second ishow His goodness is made manifest: “and doest good.”
The third is the effect of God’s goodness on a quickened soul: “Teach me thy
When you learn the goodness of God, His love in His afflicting hand, the fruit
is a desire to know His will.
In the firstplace, David bursts forth to praise the blessedness of God’s nature:
“Thou art good.”
See howthe scriptural record reveals how God’s people find their wills in
perfect harmony in their extreme trials. Many times, as the trial begins, as the
Lord begins to bring affliction, we squirm a little, but when the trial reaches
its extremity, we come to ourselves and realize that our wills must be in
harmony with God’s will and that we must come into His service. We desire to be
It was in his affliction that David exclaimed in Psalm 31:19-21: “Oh how great
is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou
hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide
them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them
secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD: for he
hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.”
Do you realize what an outgoing battle it is to suffer from the strife of
tongues? People contended with Christ for what He said. After defending myself
for 30 years in a corrupt court system, I understand the strife of tongues. I
understand how Satan will take truths out of context and make a lie. It is a
continual striving against words.
During this strife of tongues, we can only find refuge in Christ. In these times
of trial, we find refuge in the Lord. In these times of trial, we learn to
understand that the Lord is good. Even the trial He brings about to purge us and
bring us into perfect submission to His will is of His goodness. It is a token
of His love.
Howevermuch it comes against our flesh, we will find as David did, that when God
sanctifies our afflictions unto us, it is a far greater mercy than to merely be
delivered out of it. When the Lord begins to bring a trial upon us, our first
desire is to be delivered from it, thinking that it would be quite merciful for
the Lord to deliver us from the trial.
Yet, when we have profited from this trial, we can say with David that it was
good for me to have been afflicted. The trial sanctifies us in a way that we
profit by it. We see much more mercy in that than in the mere act of being
delivered from the trial.
I have seen many times when the Lord leads me into a trial that when the trial
is sanctified, when I have come to the point where I can see that it was of the
Lord’s sending the trial and the purpose of the trial, then immediately the
trial is over. The mercy is that we see Jesus in the trial and that He becomes
the captain of our salvation.
When the Lord sanctifies our afflictions, no matter how much it comes against
our flesh, it is a far greater mercy than the fact of being delivered itself.
Look what we read in Psalm 31:22-24: “For I said in my haste, I am cut off from
before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when
I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth
the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and
he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
Now the issue is not so much of the trial being taken away but being
strengthened in the trial.
Have we not found that God is good to those who fear His Name, if they will ask?
The Lord wants us to come to Him with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.
We read in Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall
find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be
opened.” Our problem is that we do not ask, but then the Lord brings a set of
circumstances against our flesh that causes us to ask.
If the prodigal son had prospered in his riotous living, would he have ever
desired to come back into His Father’s service? If we can go on serving the
flesh, and if the flesh serves us well, would we ever ask?
The problem does not lay in the fact that we knock and it does not open. The
problem lies with the fact that we are not willing to knock. We are not willing
to ask. We do not seek by nature, and that is why David could say in Psalm
119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
David thanked the Lord for bringing the means whereby he became an asker. David
began asking and knocking, and found that the door opened to him. Through
afflictions, he began to ask.
The verynature of God is love. Notice 1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one
another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and
The natureof God is goodness itself. Our Saviour made this plain to the rich
young ruler in Mark 10:18: “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?
there is none good but one, that is, God.”
It is only as we become conformed to that blessed image of Christ that there is
any good in us. I want you to notice 2 Peter 1:4: “Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of
the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust.” That divine nature cannot have any part of our corrupt nature.
It isonly as we begin to partake of His blessed divine nature, that is, as
Christ is formed in us, that we escape “the corruption that is in the world
We read in Psalm 25:8-10: “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach
sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he
teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep
his covenant and his testimonies.”
The Lord teaches us by the example and teaching of Jesus Christ, who reveals to
us the true character of God. If you are going to teach anybody anything, you
must begin with your example. Jesus teaches us with His self-sacrificial love.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:29: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
How do we know true meekness except by the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, His
condescension from His throne to become a servant? He came to show us what
service we owe to the Father.
Where is the evidence that we have God’s grace in our hearts, that He has given
us the grace to keep His covenant and His testimonies, in other words, to keep
His Word, to walk in the ways He has taught?
When Moseswas in a great strait after the children of Israel had so grievously
sinned against the Lord, Moses pleaded to see God’s glory. What did the Lord
answer him? How did He reveal His glory? Look at Exodus 33:18-19: “And he said,
I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass
before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew
mercy.” Here we see the glory of God revealed in His goodness.
Yesterday we had one of our little grandchildren with us, and she came to me and
said, “Grandpa, come downstairs with me.” So, I took her hand, and we went
downstairs. We got to the foot of the stairs, and I drew a circle on the floor,
and asked her, “Did you know that years ago you were sitting right there, and
the Lord miraculously saved your life?” She asked, “How was that Grandpa?”
I explained to her when we moved into the house she was 2 years old. I had a
four by eight table tennis table with metal all around it. I was bringing it
downstairs, and as I set it on the stairway, it slipped out of my hands and slid
down the stairs. When the wood was about two feet from her, the toy she had
slipped out of her hand, and she leaned forward and stood up to reach it. That
board did not miss her by half an inch. It tore a hole in the rug where she was
I told her I was going to preach about the goodness of God, and told her the
Lord was very good to her. He spared your life at that point. She said,
“Grandpa, that was not the only time” and went on to explain that maybe a year
or so ago, she was floating in a tube down a river. She was wearing a life
jacket, but when the tube got close to a tree, the current was so strong it
pulled the tube through the tree and she lost the tube. Her father came running,
and saw her one hand sticking up out of the water. If he had been two seconds
later, she would have been caught in an under current and drowned.
She went on to explain that on another occasion they were crossing a railroad
track. They heard the train whistle blow, and she saw the train, and her mom
stepped on the gas, and the train barely missed their car. If she had not seen
the train and hollered to her mother, they would have been hit by the train.
It is a tremendous thing for a little child to recognize the Lord’s goodness.
Once when I was sick, the Lord reminded me how that when I was a child, He had
spared me at various times and in various circumstances, and told me, Now you
will see my great salvation. His goodness passes before us. Do we see the Lord’s
glory in these things and how good He is?
Can you imagine how grieved I would have been if that wood had killed that
child? The Lord spared her and me. The goodness of God leads us to repentance.
We see it in His nature and in His character. Sometimes it is such a humbling
thing as we start to understand how good He is. Let us not forget how important
God’s goodness is. The Lord spares us in many circumstances.
Second,our text declares how God’s goodness is made manifest. He “doest good.”
By His actions, God reveals His goodness.
In thefirst instance, we must never slight God’s goodness in what He has done
for us in our creation. Have you ever really marveled over what God did for man
in His creation?
Look at Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl
of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping
thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Think of God’s goodness in how He put Adam
in such a station that he had dominion over all these things.
Even afterman’s rebellion, who can refrain from blessing and praising His
wonderful name for what He has done in giving His only begotten Son to redeem us
from all iniquity?
We read in Titus 3:3-6: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish,
disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and
envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of
God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus
Christ our Saviour.”
Look what God has done. He is good and does good. See what love the Father has.
While we were yet sinners, He gave His Son, and He instills a new nature in us.
Think ofthe goodness of God in what He has done in sending His only begotten Son
to reveal godliness in the flesh. You and I are fallen creatures, and we are
subject to sin, yet Christ revealed perfection in the flesh.
Look at what we see in 1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the
mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received
up into glory.”
If we have a glimpse of the goodness of God, how could we respond with a heart
Our wonder-working God does good also in providence. He is mindful of all His
works. Look at Psalm 145:8-10: “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion;
slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender
mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy
saints shall bless thee.”
Our Godis not only good to His saints, or even just to mankind. He is good to
those who have forfeited His goodness, those who have sinned against Him, those
who have rebelled against Him. He has not dealt with any of us according to our
We read in Psalm 147:7-9: “Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise
upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth
rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to
the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.” The Lord feeds the
unclean birds, which gives us encouragement if we feel that by our uncleanness
we have forfeited all His blessings.
These commonmercies portray a good God who gives them, though it is not always a
good people who receive them. What basis is there for rebellion against God?
There is none. He is not only a good God, but He is a good-giving God.
We read in Matthew 5:44-45: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
We are not just to do good to the household of faith, but also to our enemies.
We are to follow God’s example. He gives rain to the evil and to the good.
However thereare special areas where those who fear Him and walk in His favor
find special reason to say, “Thou art good, and doest good.”
There are common graces and common mercies that God sends upon the evil and on
the good, but He sends special mercies and graces to those who fear Him. Look at
Lamentations 3:25: “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul
that seeketh him.” This is more than just common mercy. He will honor those who
We read in Psalm 86:5: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and
plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
For thiskind of goodness, there is a necessary qualification in the receiver. We
are getting into special graces and special mercies. Satan would tell you God is
good, but he never includes the contingencies, that is, God is good to those who
fear and love His name, and wait upon Him. These arethe recipients of spiritual
blessings, that is, pardoning grace. These are for God’s children only.
Look at Isaiah 55:7: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man
his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” We cannot continue in sin that
grace may abound. The Lord pardons those who return to Him and walk in His ways.
This principlebrings us to our third consideration, that is, the effect of God’s
goodness on a quickened soul, “Teach me thy statutes.”
The effectof God’s goodness on a quickened soul is a holy reverence for His
will. We read in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: “Wherefore also we pray always for
you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the
good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to
the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those who are counted worthy of this calling are those who return to the Lord
with their whole hearts. Those who turn back to the Lord as the giver of all
good and perfect gifts see that the goodness of God leads them to a change of
mind, a change of attitude. Their rebellion is broken.
The quickenedsoul soon learns to see how contingent God’s special graces are
upon their attitude toward His law of love. Look at Psalm 84:10-12: “For a day
in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the
house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a
sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he
withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that
trusteth in thee.”
He is not talking about those who continue to walk in sin. The quickenedsouls
who have learned the sweetness of their Bridegroom’s blessed nearness will be
always meditating upon His blessed will, that they may not interrupt His visits
of love. If you understand the nearness of Christ, and to have His love revealed
in your soul, you will find time in bed, when your loved ones are asleep, that
you will meditate upon His will.
If you have experienced this like I have, you will find that many times you will
meditate on how often you have offended Him. Many times you will marvel that He
comes to show such love to one who has so often offended against such love. We
meditate on His will so we will not interrupt His visits of love.
Look with me at Ephesians 3:17-21: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by
faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend
with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with
all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto
him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without
If we have experienced such love poured into our hearts, then our hearts will
meditate on His will.
See theconnection the Apostle Paul makes between such special nearness of our
blessed Saviour, and our attitude toward God’s will, which reveals itself in our
walk of life. Notice what we read in the next chapter, in Ephesians 4:1-3: “I
therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the
vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with
longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of
the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Paul had become a bondservant of the Lord. That meekness, longsuffering and
forbearance reflects the law of love. The love of Christ must be reflected in
how we treat our fellow man.
Davidwas no stranger to the connection between holiness and his blessed
fellowship with God. This is why he says in our text, “Thou art good, and doest
good; teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:68).
When you and I learn to understand the harmony between knowing the will of God
and experiencing His nearness and love, then we will understand why David
repeatedly asks the Lord to teach him His will. He does not want any
interruption in the love of Christ being shed abroad in his heart.
It isby the knowledge of His statutes that we learn to understand our
iniquities, which need to be pardoned. I can talk to you about the letter of the
law. I can tell you which actions are sin, and we can make a big checklist—all
under the letter of the law—but there is no conviction in it. However, when we
have experienced the blessed nearness of Christ, and our conscience begins
making a checklist showing us how we have sinned against His love, we respond,
Oh, what a wonder that He still loves me.
Through the experiencing of His love, we start to understand His precepts. We
understand the sinful nature of sin. We get a glimpse of how displeasing our sin
is before the Lord. He shows us His precious love, and our response should be:
Show me your statutes. Help me to understand your perfect will so I may not
offend against it.
Then webecome proper candidates to show forth His praises for the wonder of His
goodness in the gift of His only begotten Son. Now our hearts are in tune to
sing in harmony with the saints in light.
Look at what we read in Psalm 65:1-4: “Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion:
and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee
shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions,
thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest
to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied
with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”
We learn to understand our iniquities, and then we learn to understand what true
praise is. When we learn to understand the nature of sin, and how grievous it is
in the eyes of the Lord, then we can sing forth His praises. Then the goodness
of the Father in giving His Son becomes such an unspeakable gift. Then the love
of the Son that is shed abroad in our hearts becomes past understanding. How can
we understand the love of Christ that He would love such a person who has
committed such grievous violations of His law?
It is only as we grow in the knowledge of God’s precepts that we learn to know
the goodness of God in His longsuffering mercy toward us.
We read in Micah 7:18-19: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity,
and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth
not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he
will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast
all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
One time the Lord really laid on my heart that I had violated a principle. The
sermon that really charged my heart concluded with the words, “but I have
forgiven him.” The next day or two I was laying this before the Lord, and it was
just as if He rebuked me like never before. He stopped me cold. He said: “I have
put your sins in the depth of the sea. Do not reach behind my back and put them
back in my face.” It is quite a thought, is it not? He said: I forgave you. Do
not ever mention it again.
Have you ever had a quarrel with someone, and then get together and put it
behind you? Do not ever mention it again. When the Lord has taken His blood and
covered your sin, He does not want those sins laid back in His face.
When welearn through growing in the knowledge of God’s precepts how justly we
have deserved His wrath, then we can learn what it means for mercy to rejoice
We read in Psalm 34:7-10: “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that
fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is
the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no
want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they
that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
What a blessed promise it is when we learn to feast on that heavenly manna, when
we learn to feast on His love that is beyond all understanding, when we learn to
feast on that precious bread of life, that meat that endures forever.