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Encountering the Goodness of God

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By Robert E. Henson

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Exodus 33:18-19

18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.

19 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 show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Moses’ supreme encounter with the goodness of God came in response to his request of the Lord, “Show me thy glory.”

The term glory as applied to the Lord means displayed excellence or manifested excellence. Moses was requesting to see a display of the Excellencies of the Lord God.

The Lord agreed to Moses’ request and declared that He would give Moses a private showing of four (4) expressions, or domains, of the Glory of God.

It must be noted there are certainly more than just four expressions of God’s Glory. However, the Lord determined to highlight these particular four for His servant. The four aspects of God’s Glory that were displayed to Moses were:

  • The Goodness of God
  • The Name of the Lord
  • The Grace or Compassion of the Almighty
  • The Mercy of God

With reference to the Goodness of God, the Lord affirmed to Moses…

I Will Make All My Goodness Pass before You

Observe the word all in the above promise. Moses was a man already acquainted with the goodness of God. However, it is as though the Lord said to Him, “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

The fact is that God had already shared with Moses a great deal of His goodness. But at this time, the Lord is promising to give to Moses a broader revelation and a deeper understanding of this particular manifestation of His Glory. He declared to Moses that He, the Lord, would display His goodness in a manner that Moses had never previously experienced.

Oh, that you and I could get a deeper insight into the goodness of God!

An interesting side note — It is believed by many biblical scholars that it was precisely in fulfillment of this promise that Moses received the revelations from which he penned the book of Genesis and the account of the origins of our universe.

Fulfillment of Moses’ Request

Moses made his request of the Lord while in the Tabernacle, and the record of the petition is written in Exodus 33. The fulfillment came not in the Tabernacle, but on the top of Mount Sinai, after Moses was summoned there by the Lord. The majestic fulfillment is recorded in Exodus 34.

Exodus 34:5-8

5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

It is most interesting that when God paraded His goodness before Moses, He expands the definition of it. Notice again verse 6, particularly the portion that embraces the subject at hand.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God… abundant in goodness and truth,

In revealing His goodness, the Lord injects the word truth. The Almighty is helping Moses to get a deeper view of God’s goodness.

The Hebrew word translated truth is `emeth (eh’-meth). It literally means stability. It can also mean trustworthiness or faithful.

To understand God’s goodness, we must grasp His perpetual stability. God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good.

What makes God supremely good is that He is trustworthy. God is faithful! You can always count on Him. He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” In fact, the Lord declared to Moses that He, Jehovah, is abundant in goodness and truth!

A Proper Response to the Goodness of the Eternal One

One of the main methods of God revealing His Glory in our lives is through the endowments that we continually receive because of His goodness. When Moses was confronted with the Glory of God, as revealed though the Lord’s goodness, Moses “made haste… and worshipped.”

There is something intrinsically wrong with any person who can behold God’s goodness and not respond with worship. In fact, the Scriptures command us to worship at the thought of the goodness of God.

Actually, in just one chapter of the Bible, we are given that encouragement no less than four times. In Psalm 107, verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 are precisely identical:

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

It is assured in another Psalm that there will be those who praise the Lord for His goodness.

 

Psalms 145:7

They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. [Emphasis added]

The mother of Evangelist Johnny James expressed it like this in her song…

When I think of the goodness of Jesus,

And all that He has done for me,

My soul cries out, ‘Hallelujah!

Praise God for saving me! ‘

Finally, I share with you one final and important understanding about the goodness of God…

God’s Goodness is a Revelation of the Character of God

It is chiefly through God’s goodness that we come to understand the very character, nature and essence of the Almighty.

1 John 4:19

We love him, because he first loved us.

I fell in love with the Lord because of His extreme goodness. I continue to be amazed at His benevolence and goodness.

The Psalmist put it this way…

Psalms 31:19

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!

 

Yet, again in the Psalms we are admonished…

Psalms 34:8

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

The Prophet Nahum declared…

Nahum 1:7

The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Jeremiah articulated…

Lamentations 3:25

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Paul admonished us…

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?

We should never despise holy conviction. It is God drawing us away from sin and to Himself.

The Bible boldly asserts that it is the goodness of God that leads individuals to repent. It is God’s goodness that causes us to feel our need for repentance. God could just let us go without any restraint. However, because He is good, He convicts us and draws us toward Himself.

Romans 11:22

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. [Emphasis added]

This is a strong verse against the false doctrine of eternal security. Also, this scripture makes it plain that persons who go to Hell will go there because they steeled themselves against the goodness of God.

Any person who refuses to let God’s goodness lead him or her to repentance and obedience to God is without hope. God’s goodness leads us toward salvation.

Oh, the wonder of God’s goodness!

 

The above article “Encountering the Goodness of God” is written by Robert E. Henson. This article was excerpted from chapter four in Henson’s book Just Braggin’ On Jesus.

 

The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.

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