Everything God Does is Good!
This is a part of the Victory of Faith Series. Every article in this series is designed to stand on it’s own as well as build on the previous article. However, you can watch the video here to see the full introduction to this series.
To review what we have learned so far, faith fails every time when wielded for our own purposes. God the Father and Jesus the Son are One, so in order to trust Jesus, we must also trust God the Father.
Because of this truth, the first step in learning how to operate in faith is to learn that God can be trusted with all the little things in our lives.
To trust God, we need to understand His character, and that everything He does is always good.
You may think that sounds simple, but when reading the old testament, we can get the impression that God is mean or unfair, or perhaps too harsh. This impression can affect our ability to completely trust our daily lives to Him and His Son.
Don’t Avoid the Hard Questions
We must study the bible to turn this around. Don’t avoid the hard questions that come up while reading the Old Testament. Meet them head on so that you may know Him and understand the truth.
Whenever you read a passage in the bible that shocks you, and would indicate that God is unfair or too hard, you must remember that it was not God who caused suffering in the world, it was the choice of man.
Let’s look at an example. In Exodus 32:25-29 Moses tells the people of Israel, who had just been worshiping a golden calf, to stand by him if they were on God’s side. The Levites stood by him.
So Moses said to the Levites, “God’s orders, the God of Israel: ‘Strap on your swords and go to work. Crisscross the camp from one end to the other: Kill brother, friend, neighbor.’” The Levites carried out Moses’ orders. Three thousand of the people were killed that day. Exodus 32:27-28
Sounds kind of harsh or cruel doesn’t it? Some of us might be able to rationalize this however, because in this particular case, we see that the Israelites had been doing something terribly wrong. Worshiping the golden calf. So let’s look at another example that may be harder to rationalize.
In Exodus 19:21-22, God said to Moses, “Go down. Warn the people not to break through the barricades to get a look at God lest many of them die. And the priests also, warn them to prepare themselves for the holy meeting, lest God break out against them.”
Is God Just Mean?
So how can we understand that God the Father is always and only good when He is saying that He will “break out against them” for just attempting to see God?
On top of all this, there is the old standby, “Why do babies starve to death in Africa?”
To really understand this, you must understand the big picture first. If we only look at the physical, we end up with a partial picture.
The Big Picture
God created us in His image, god-like and eternal. He gave us an incredible gift. A gift that nothing else enjoys. The gift of choice (free will). God gave us the ability to choose between life and death.
We were created, our bodies and our spirit, to live forever. Our entire being was pure. We knew only good, and were clothed in the light of God alone.
God gave us all the more beauty, and all the more power, and glory because of the great choice of man. Without choice, we would not have possessed power, or authority.
Adam and Eve used this choice, giving away our authority. By eating the fruit they were commanded not to eat, they essentially took God’s gift of life and rejected it completely, choosing death instead.
From the moment that sin occurred, all of us deserved eternal punishment. The only way to avoid that punishment was to never sin, which was made impossible by having the knowledge of good and evil.
One little sin, even a little one done unintentionally has to be paid for with eternal punishment. For Good to be satisfied, the full Wrath of God must be poured out on that sin, which is embodied in us.
God knew this. Even though He never did one thing wrong or one thing to deserve our rebellion against Him, He had a plan to redeem us. That plan was Jesus.
Jesus came to earth, lived the same life that we endure, and never sinned. He perfected the life that we corrupted. Then He went to the cross, and paid the punishment for our sins.
That means that God the Father, Righteousness and Goodness itself, poured out all His Wrath on Jesus. Jesus took every drop of punishment that you and I deserved because of our sins until there was no judgement left for us.
Man Was Entirely Responsible for Sin
Now back to the Old Testament questions. At that time, Jesus had not yet completed the plan. Man was still entirely responsible for every one of their sins.
Because of that, God’s Wrath and Judgement for Israelites had to be held back. There had to remain a safe distance between them and God, or the judgement or untarnished goodness of God that demanded the payment of those sins would have broken out against them and killed them.
By the Grace of God, He guarded the Israelites from certain death. You see, even where God seemingly behaves in a manner which disturbs us, it is actually done out of love for us.
The Israelites Chose Death Instead of Life
So what about the ordered killing of the Israelites by the Levites?
Notice that Moses gave the Israelites a choice to choose God. He said, “Whoever is on God’s side, come over here and stand with me.”
Other than the Levites, who came and stood with Moses, the others obviously chose death instead of life, just like Adam had done. By not standing with Moses, they were saying they were against God.
That decision was possibly worse than worshiping the golden calf. That sin had to be dealt with ruthlessly for there to be any chance for the nation of God. Remember that this was the chosen people through whom God planned to send the Savior of the world.
In our culture, we are taught to be tolerant of sin. The bible tells us through this story to be utterly ruthless with sin. All of us have a choice to accept the white washing blood of Jesus, which is like choosing to stand with God.
Choose life and God will stand with you always, no matter what you have done in the past.
So you see that His goodness is so far beyond what we imagine as good, that we sometimes picture it as bad. Hopefully now you have a glimpse of the truth. That everything God ever does is good. It is always done for our benefit. That is how good God is.
[ Sidenote of Awesomeness: Although Moses could not look on the full Glory of God’s Goodness without his body dying ( Exodus 33:19-23 ), Moses could come close to God because he was covered by the Spirit (the Holy Spirit Numbers 11:25). Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, all of us can be filled with that same Spirit. Now any of us that chooses Him can come close to the Mighty God! ]
Shift Your Trust from Yourself to God
Now let’s apply this to our lives. It is not easy to completely change from trusting in our own abilities to completely trusting everything to God.
But, when understanding of His goodness is in our hearts, or at least we are beginning to understand his goodness, then we can begin to live in it.
This is a process and is not something we decide to do once and then happily ever after happens. Every day, there will be something that comes up that you will have to choose to trust God with.
The Victory is Not Always Physical
This is where it gets extremely difficult. You cannot judge your progress in trusting God by what you see happen around you.
Many people use what is going on around them to dictate whether they trust God or not. If things look bad or difficult, they either feel that God is steering them in another direction or that He cannot be trusted. An extreme case of this would be the child starving in Africa.
Remember that God always sees the big picture. We, as humans were the ones that rejected his initial gift of life. God hates sin, but He loves us to the point that He put His own Son in our place.
Proverbs 21:31 says, “Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring the victory.”
No matter what you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, or feel with your emotions. Remember that He is ONLY good. He knows how this all ends. All we have to do is trust Him, and then, even if we die, we have victory!