My grandma would say, “Oh, for goodness sake” when she thought someone was making too big of a deal over something. “For goodness sake, let it go.” What seemed to be just a saying, is straight from the Bible. It is for the sake of God’s goodness to us and in us, that we should lighten up and let many more things go in our lives.
I asked Fred, “How do you handle this guy who can’t seem to remember things from minute to minute?” He replied, “It’s easy. When I see that his mind is wandering I alert him, get his eyes focused on me and remind him of what we’re doing. And he answers, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right,’ and we carry on.” Wow! He made it sound so easy, and for him it was. Fred was a perfect example of what the goodness of God is like.
In Exodus 33:18 Moses asks God: “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” But instead of the Lord showing Moses the fanfare, the bells and whistles and spectacular fireworks, he said: “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (v. 19). And that’s just what Fred did with his co-worker; he showed graciousness and mercy: God’s goodness.
There are so many great examples in the Bible of God’s goodness. In 1 Kings 8:65 to 66 we see that God’s goodness extended into a 14-day feast! And after the feast, “he sent the people away: and they thanked the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.” The goodness of God has substance.
Another great example of God’s goodness is seen in how David treated Saul. Saul had been given instructions from God, but Saul didn’t follow through and ended up opening his mind to a demon. The only thing that brought Saul back to his right mind was music. His servants found David, who could play a harp, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (1 Sam. 16:23).
David was called on to play for Saul many times, but as the demon took over more and more of Saul’s mind, he got jealous of David and this is what happened: “And David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice” (1 Sam. 18:10-11). David was good to Saul in spite of Saul’s mental case. He stayed merciful and good to Saul until he couldn’t stay any longer.
The last time Saul tried to kill David with the javelin, “the evil spirit was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled and escaped that night” (1 Sam. 19:9-10).
As it turns out, Saul was so mad that he got his troops together and chased after David to kill him. David always escaped. Then at one point when Saul and his three thousand men were camped for the night, David and his friend Abishai snuck up on them. Abishai wanted to kill Saul.
But David said, “Destroy him not; for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, ‘As the Lord liveth the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish’” (1 Sam 26:9-10). Verse 11: “But I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.”
David was convinced of the goodness of God and he would not kill one who God had made king. But he did take Saul’s spear and water to show him that he could have killed him if he wanted to.
Saul woke up: “Then said Saul, ‘I have sinned: return my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly” (1 Sam. 26:21).
What an amazing lesson for us. In the New Testament Paul prays for us: “That our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of HIS GOODNESS” (2 Thess. 1:11). WOW! It’s our duty, privilege and blessing to exhibit God’s goodness to people.
We never know the extent of trouble or grief a person is going through. 1 Corinthians 2:11 says, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Cor. 2:11). So, making an effort to be kinder is a good thing. Being less critical is a good thing.
And it’s good to be gentler and kinder to ourselves as well. Sometimes we could be going through things we’re not even fully aware of. No matter how we’ve been in the past, or even yesterday, we can be as full of the goodness of God as we allow right now. We can let Him fill us up with His goodness and distribute that goodness to others.
Like it says in Romans 2:4: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” It’s His goodness that brought Him to us and His goodness that brought us to Him. Let’s be the bearers of His goodness, “full of goodness” (Rom. 15:14) and spread it around.
Books by Carolyn: