by Gloria Copeland
“[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!”
(Psalm 27:13, The Amplified Bible)
A few years ago, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my heart and said, Preach the goodness of God and fear not the reproach of men.
As I began to search out what the Bible has to say about God’s goodness, I found it was a theme that ran from Genesis to Revelation. Why do you suppose the Bible would so strongly emphasize the simple truth that God is good?
Because it is the foundation of our faith in Him. It is the number one thing we must know about God so that we can build a strong foundation of faith.
The more we know God’s goodness, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the easier it is for us to put our lives into His hands. Only by placing our lives in His hands can we open the way for Him to save us, bless us and work through us, so that His wonderful will can be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
When I began teaching on the goodness of God in healing services, I saw more miracles and healings than before. As people understood God’s goodness, they found it easy to trust Him. That trust enabled them to open their hearts to His healing power. When they saw from the Word that it was the “Father’s good pleasure to give” them the kingdom (Luke 12:32) and that “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11), they realized God was for them and not against them. The truth dawned on their hearts that He was not holding out on them. He was not trying to keep healing away from them. Instead, because He loves to do good, He was endeavoring to help them. Seeing that, they were able to relax and by faith receive what they needed from Him.
My prayer is that the same thing will happen for you.
Until you settle the fact that God is good and you can trust Him with your life, your faith is never going to be great because you will always draw back in fear. You will always be thinking, What if He doesn’t come through for me? What if He is not listening to me? What if He asks me to do something that will harm me in some way?
However, once your heart grasps the goodness of God, you will be confident that He will never hurt you, abandon you or let you down. As long as you follow Him, He will always be there—loving you, helping you and blessing you.
God Isn’t Confused
Traditional religion has made people think they couldn’t depend on the goodness of God. Religion has taught that one day God might make you sick. The next day He might make you poor.
But that is contrary to the written Word of God. God is not confused about good and evil. He knows the definition of a blessing and a curse, and His definition is the same as ours. (That’s because we got ours from Him.)
In Deuteronomy 28, you can read the blessings and the curses as He described them to the nation of Israel. He sums up the blessings in verses 11-13:
The Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them (New King James Version).
Obviously, God has figured out what’s good for us and what’s not. He knows it’s good when we have more than enough natural provision in our lives. He knows if we plant crops, it’s good to reap big harvests. He knows if we have livestock, it’s good for them to increase. He knows it’s good for our children to be blessed and for us to be physically healthy and whole.
On the other hand, He knows it’s evil for us be sick, poor, frightened and oppressed.
Actually, the Hebrew word shalom that the Lord uses so frequently to bless His people means to have wholeness in your life—spirit, soul and body. It means you have nothing missing, nothing broken. God knows that is the way things ought to be, and that is the way He wants them to be—not just for a few of His people but for every one of them. As Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to all.”
The Key to the Courage of David
When I think of someone in the Bible who truly understood the goodness of God, David always comes to mind. God calls him a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). As a young shepherd tending his flock on the hills of Israel, David fellowshiped with God and came to know His nature. He knew He was a loving God. He knew that He was good, kind and patient. David knew that God would take care of him, provide for him and deliver him from danger.
From that revelation, David wrote Psalm 23. My, what insight it gives us into God’s goodness! You may have quoted it religiously for years. You may have even thought it referred to the care God gives us in heaven. But this psalm reveals what God wants to do for us here on earth—in the “valley of the shadow of death,” where we must deal with our enemy, the devil.
With those things in mind, read Psalm 23 and let it speak to your heart in a fresh way about the kindness and loving care God wants to give you:
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place (The Amplified Bible).
The more deeply you understand the truth of those words, the more you will be able to trust God in every circumstance of life. Your confidence in Him will make you bold when others are timid.
That is what happened to David. The revelation of Psalm 23 filled him with confidence in God. It made him bold and daring in dangerous situations. When a lion came after the sheep of his flock, David didn’t run away. He single-handedly caught that lion by the mane and killed it. When the bear came, David killed it too.
Later in his life, when everybody in Israel was afraid of the giant Goliath, David was the only one courageous enough to fight him. What was behind this great courage? David revealed that in 1 Samuel 17:37 when he said, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
David not only knew about the goodness of God, he had seen it work in his life. He had seen the victories God’s goodness had gained for him, and just thinking of them made him bold.
You and I can be the same way. The more we understand the goodness of God and the more we see that goodness operating in our lives, the more victories we will have to remember. The more victories we remember, the harder it is for the devil to talk us into letting him run over us.
We’ll remember the victory over the lion and the bear in our own lives and think, You know, God got me this far. He will not let me down now!
Look What the Lord Has Done!
I have had that thought more times than I can remember in the past 35-plus years. My life was such a mess when I first learned about God’s goodness. I have often wondered, What would have become of me if I had not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?
I might not even be alive right now. I certainly would not be enjoying the blessings I am enjoying today. Over the years, as Ken and I have continued to trust God with our lives, we have seen the evidence of His goodness continue to increase until it has totally overwhelmed us.
The more I have come to know the goodness of the Lord, the more I have come to believe that God wants all of us to give our lives to Him so He can lavishly, without reserve, pour His blessings upon us. He wants all of us to be so blessed that everywhere we look, we see the goodness of God. Every time we drive up to our homes we say, “Look what the Lord has done!” Every time we get in our car and turn the key we say, “Thank You, Lord, for this good car!”
God’s desire is for us to feel so good when we get up in the morning that we cannot help but be grateful for a well body that functions faithfully and feels so good!
Every time we look at our children and see the peace they enjoy, we praise the Lord. God’s desire is that every direction we turn, we experience His goodness!
Notice, I said “we,” not just me. Not just my husband, Kenneth. God wants to bless you too—in every area of your life. He wants to bless you spiritually. He wants to bless you physically. He wants to bless you in your finances, in your relationships, and in your career. He wants to give you the desires of your heart.
I know that sounds too good to be true, but that’s not surprising. If you think about it, Jesus Himself seemed too good to be true. The fact that God sent Him to pay the price for all our sins, the fact that He died so we could live by simple faith in Him, sounds too good to be true. But it’s true nonetheless. And Romans 8:32 says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Where Will You Be Next Year?
If you’re still somewhat skeptical, let me ask you a question. Where will you be this time next year if you don’t start believing to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?
You’ll be right where you are now. Things will be no better in your life. In fact, they’ll probably be worse because the devil will still be unhindered in his work to steal, kill and destroy.
But if you’ll find out what the Bible says about God’s goodness and dare to believe it, things will begin to change in a wonderful way. Your life will immediately begin to improve. A year from now, you’ll not only see that goodness on the pages of your Bible, you’ll see it around you every day of your life.
That’s what I call living!
Excerpted from Gloria Copeland’s book, Blessed Beyond Measure.
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