“GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME”                           By Pastor YAU

Text: Job 2:1-10 (Golden text: 1:21-22)                      April 13, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A modern day saying: Modern day Christians often recite this phrase “God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good” to reaffirm the goodness of God. Sometimes I wonder if they really believe what they say or even think about what they are saying. Many Christians doubt God’s goodness especially when they feel God is not hearing or answering their prayers. I guess sometimes we may feel the same way.

2)   An ancient day saying: It was not a modern day issue when people question the goodness of God. When God allowed Satan to test the faith of Job and caused him to suffer so many losses and physical infirmities regardless of his wholesome life and strong faith, Job’s wife expressed her anger and distrust on the goodness of God. She said to Job, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9)I guess we can understand why she had said that. 

 

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME:

1)    God is good in the beginning: No one knows when God had come into existence. As He answered Moses of His name, He gave Moses “I am that I am” which means “I am the beginning.” Later God called Himself “Alpha and Omega” to mean “the beginning and the end.” We come to know Him from the creation and in the creation, we see so many aspects of His goodness: from creating all things before He created man, to the guidelines given for man’s protection, to the forgiveness of and the redemption from sin. God is like a father who loves his sons and daughters even before they were born and continues to love them all the way.

2)    God is good in the Old Testament: If you have read the history in the old Testament on how much God loved the Israelis, how many times God had forgiven them, provided for them, rescued them from oppression, rebellion and even condemnation. Most likely you will agree with me that if you or I were God, the Israelis will never be chosen, never be restored, never have a nation and never be called the People of God but God did all to His People. God’s goodness did not depend on the behavior of the people but on His nature, His promise and His faithfulness. God told the Israelis, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:8)

3)    God is good in Jesus Christ: The ultimate proof of God’s goodness is evidenced in His sending of His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the salvation of rebellious people including you and me. Paul testified that “God demonstrates his own love for us (much more than goodness) is this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9) If it were not God’s love, none of us can be saved much less be called “children of God.” (John 1:12)

4)    God is good to you and me: Reflecting on God’s love, forgiveness and goodness, Apostle Paul confessed that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)If you know Paul’s life according to human standard few may measure up to his discipline and moral life. Let us be honest and truthful, how much worse we are in compare with the life of Paul. If he confessed to be the worst of all sinners, where may we stand before God to deserve all the mercy and forgiveness He has given us? Even after we were saved from our sins, we all continue to sin and rebel against God’s will and commands. The fact we continue to call God our Father every time we pray is because of His mercy and goodness.

 

WE DOUBT GOD’S GOODNESS: Why?

1)   Because Satan creates doubts:  Before Satan came to talk to Eve, Eve didn’t have any doubt about God’s goodness even though she knew it clearly that they should not eat the fruits of that tree in the center of the garden. But Satan was sneaky in suggesting that God didn’t want them to eat that fruit because He wanted to keep Eve and her husband from having the same knowledge as God has: God is keeping something good for Himself. When Eve began to doubt God’s goodness, she saw the fruit in a different way: good for food, pleasing to her eyes and desirable for gaining wisdom. Since she didn’t believe in God’s goodness, she told herself: “I have to take care myself.” She fell into Satan’s scheme.

2)   Because we want immediate results: Following God’s command, Moses went to ask Pharaoh to allow Israelis go to worship God in the wilderness, he and all the Israelis were  expecting immediate results: Pharaoh would allow them to go. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead Pharaoh increased the hardship on the Israelis and made their life much worse, Moses and the people lost their faith in the goodness of God. When God asked Moses to talk to Pharaoh again, Moses reminded God, “Why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you have sent me? Ever since I came to speak in your name, he had done evil to this people; you have not delivered this people at all.” (Exodus 5:22-23)When they did not see immediate results, they concluded God was not good at all.

3)   Because we can’t see God’s way: Just as children often times can’t understand what and why adults do things differently from their way, we are not capable of seeing the way God does things in our life or life of others or in this world. Thousands of years ago, God told His people, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)As limited as human beings, how can we expect ourselves to know all the thoughts and ways God does His plans. To conclude and doubt God’s goodness when we don’t even know what they are and how they work is never a fair judgment.

4)   Because we use a faulty standard: Usually we use our everyday life experience and circumstance as the standard to measure God’s goodness and when they don’t match the way we like, we begin to doubt the goodness of God or conclude that God is not good or not good enough. This standard is so faulty because our life experience or circumstance is never the correct standard by which God and everyone else measure goodness. Both our life experience and personal circumstance are subjective and personal and are so different from that of God’s and others’. How can anyone thinks he is the standard of the world and the goodness of God should be measured by that?

 

GOD IS GOOD, ALWAYS: (Job 2:1-10)

1)   God was proud of Job: When God inspired the writer of Job, He was proud of the integrity and uprightness of this man. In the introduction of Job, God saw him as a man blameless in his life, upright in his heart and reverend to his God. (1:1) God was so proud of Job that He recited the great character of Job even before Satan. (1:8; 2:3) God liked Job. God loved Job. Of course God will never do anything to hurt Job. Then you may say, “Then why has Job suffered so much?” Here is the reason.

2)   Evil attacked the good: Satan disagreed with God’s assessment of Job. Satan suggested that Job was not really a good man from his heart. He was good only because of God’s many blessings. Satan also believed that Job will turn ugly against God if God took away His blessings. (1:11; 2:5) There was a spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil that Job, his wife and his friends did not see. Often times, when our life got turned upside down, it is easy for us to blame God and his goodness. We don’t understand that it is because of Satan’s attack on good people of God. Satan wants to turn God’s good people bad and ugly. He loves to see God’s good people turn against God, (1:11; 2:5)

3)   God is always in control: Since God had so much faith in Job, He allowed Satan to attack Job but God set the limits how far Satan may go in its attack: God limited Satan’s attack to Job’s property and children but not “lay a finger on this man” (1:12) Then God set limits again that Satan must not harm Job’s life. (2:6) If you read the Bible carefully, in all the attacks of Satan and the suffering of Job, God was always in control. God knew that Job was strong and will stand all attacks from Satan and still stand firm in his faith. The Bible says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (1:22; 2:10)  God never makes mistakes.

4)   Trust God’s goodness: There are many important spiritual lessons we all can learn from the suffering of Job. God did not allow Job to suffer for no reason except His pride over this man. At the end of the story, we read this: “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (42:10-17)The Bible listed all the things God had restored to Job, his children, his property, his relatives and he lived 140 more years until he saw his children’s children to the fourth generation. When God allows bad things happen to good people (I am not sure if there are any real good people), God has purposes in it and His purposes are always good even though we may not see it at the moment. Here is why we need to trust God and His goodness.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    We are human: There are many limitations in being human. One of them is we can’t see what God can see especially when life takes a bad turn. It is very human to doubt if God is really good. If He is good, why can a good God allow bad things happen to innocent people, especially to us? Life is a mystery and there are many things we have no answers. To blame God and His goodness doesn’t help us getting better but getting us bitter.

2)    We are His children: Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “Though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” When life gets tough and there is no answer, it’s time to pray for understanding and faith, trusting this heavenly Father who loves you so much to sacrifice His own son. He has purpose in all things you face and His purpose is always good for you.

3)    We need God: God doesn’t guarantee smooth ride and safe sailing. But He promise to be with you no matter how long, how far away and how bad things may be. Do not live your life all by yourself. Ask God to walk through life with you. If God is for you, nothing may work against you. Invite Him into your heart, surrender your life to Him and He will direct your path much better than you can on your own.