We hope you had a good week with our good God. Gather up a sister or two, your journal and a pen. Let’s talk about His goodness.
Father God, open our eyes, ears, and hearts to Your great good!
We began our five weeks of going deeper into trust by seeing God as trustworthy through Psalm 23.
Read Psalm 23
God is our Great Good Shepherd. What images in this psalm paint a picture of God as good?
Is there anything in Psalm 23 which makes you wonder about God’s goodness?
If He is leading us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, what is all this talk about walking through a very dark valley? the valley of the shadow of death?
Does anything good come out of the dark valleys in our lives?
Why do we need a table set before us in the presence of our enemies? Why do we still have enemies?
There is a promise at the end of the psalm connected with following Him.
Read Psalm 23:6
Most translations begin this sentence with surely, but literally the Hebrew means only.
Only goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.
Do you find comfort in this promise?
Do you find this promise to be true?
My morning time with God this year is a journey based on the teachings and spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. This is an eight month devotional path focused on spending intimate time in prayer, Scripture, and meditation.
The author encouraged us to create a place for prayer and include sacred items as reminders of God’s presence, before beginning the journey. As you approach the space you are asked to imagine how God looks upon you with great joy. I asked my daughter to paint parts of Psalm 139 on canvases to guide me towards God’s thoughts for me.
I knew this part of the journey would be a tough one, what I didn’t realize was how it would help build my trust and understanding of God’s goodness… and His good intentions for me.
We spent a large part of our daily work looking at God’s character through Psalm 139. We’ve shared with you before the practice of Lectio Divina — a meditative, prayerful way of reading Scripture. Let’s take a moment to walk through this spiritual discipline as we consider part of Psalm 139.
First, read Psalm 139:1-16 out loud.
Now, read it through again silently and listen for a phrase or word that floats to the surface.
Ask God to reveal His word to you in these verses.
What did He reveal?
What did you find most appealing about God from this psalm?
Did you find anything a bit distressing about Him in these verses?
For me verses 11-12 are comforting. They have a bit to do with those dark valleys He sometimes leads us through.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. — Psalm 139:11-12
Darkness and light are alike to Him. Where we see darkness, He sees light. In His sovereignty, He only allows what He allows because He sees it as light.
Like in the case of Jacob’s son Joseph, the one with the multi-colored coat. He went through many dark valleys: sold by his brothers into slavery, unjustly accused and convicted of attempted rape, forgotten by a fellow inmate who was set free. But by the end of Joseph’s story, he came to a place where he saw God’s light in all He allowed.
Read Genesis 50:18-21
As Joseph came to grips with God’s goodness, even after very dark periods in his life, he was able to see the darkness as light. He forgave his brothers and lived at peace with them.
I’ve seen a couple of my children in dark places recently. Nothing as dramatic as slavery or false accusations, but it looked like darkness to me just the same. I’ve struggled to trust Him, with their failures and bad choices, but I’ve seen Him bring light out of both those things.
Darkness is like light to Him.
Can you trust Him to bring light out of darkness in your life? in the life of a loved one?
Have you experienced God bringing light out of dark valleys in your life?
Only a great good God can bring light out of darkness.
Recite the memory verse for this week: Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all, and he has mercy on all that he has made.
Our memory verse tells us God is good to ALL and is merciful to ALL. Do you believe it? Does this verse challenge the way you see God and the world?
The spiritual discipline this week challenged you to make an evidence list of God’s goodness.
What evidence did you find? Did anything surprise you?
We discovered God knits or weaves us together.
Re-read Psalm 139:13-16
When you see birth defects and deformities or mental illness or a person with a bent toward addiction, do you have trouble considering God created something good?
God is good. And all He does is good. Is it possible He allows Satan to interfere in His knitting to bring about deformities or a predisposition for addiction for a good purpose?
Read John 9:1-7
What did the disciples ask about this man born blind? What did they believe caused the man’s blindness?
How did Jesus respond to their question?
Jesus said …it was so the works of God might be displayed. In this case, Jesus literally used darkness in a man’s life to reveal light.
How were the works of God displayed through this man’s blindness?
- Jesus revealed a right understanding of disease.
- Jesus revealed God’s power to heal.
- Jesus gave evidence of His being the Messiah through this man’s lifelong blindness.
If everything He’s allowed is a possible means for Him to display His mighty works, how should we respond to the things we see as bad?
I call him, a close member of my family, to tell him how sorry I am… to share how much I love him. It’s a terrible situation, when a wife leaves her husband. I call divorce death, and in so many ways it is. I’m sad, he’s sad… we’re all teary and heartbroken. He talks and I listen and then he says something I can’t quite wrap my mind around, “Stacy, I’ve backslidden.”
Thoughts churn. Does he think this is some punishment for not going to church? God’s way of getting back at him… setting things straight? He says the word several more times and I can’t help but speak the truth. Brother, this is not about punishment or whether you’ve been a perfect husband. Grace doesn’t work like that. Grace allows us to come to the end of our rope for one reason only—to bring us to Him. And when we turn towards home He stands like the prodigal son’s father, watching and waiting with nothing but love and grace to welcome us back. Yes, He has allowed this, not because you slid backwards… but because a good God knows what it will take to bring us closer to Him. And not only us… but everyone involved.
One sure way to respond is to pray for Him to reveal His mighty works through what He’s allowed.
He’s given us a very good gift to help us in our efforts to pray for His works to be revealed. The Holy Spirit.
Read Luke 11:13
Sometimes, we discount the goodness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. After all He’s invisible, makes us question ourselves and convicts us. We don’t know where He comes from or where He’s going in our lives (John 3:8), which makes us feel out of control at times.
But His Word says this is the good gift His children need. Like with any gift we receive we must open it up and make it part of our lives.
How do you incorporate the Holy Spirit in your life?
We receive the good gift of the Holy Spirit through Jesus.
What did God the Father send His one and only Son to do?
Does a good Father send His Son to die a horrible, agonizing, unjust death, to bear the condemnation for other’s sins?
Read Isaiah 53
Isaiah 53 is a picture of the goodness of God. Sending His Son to die so others might live. And in turn, He calls those who believe in Him to do the same.
He is a great good God to those who know Him.
Is He good to you? all the time?
Next week we go deeper into Trusting God Knows Best.
The next spiritual discipline to practice is Walk By the Spirit. We are asking you to choose at least one day to practice submitting your life to the direction of the Holy Spirit, trusting God knows best in every situation in your day.
You can find the PDF of the spiritual discipline and next week’s homework by clicking here: Going Deeper – Trusting God Knows Best