God Makes It Good



God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num 23:19)

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (Joh 8:44)

How do you feel about someone who never keeps his word? I can't stand it. If someone says they will do or not do a thing and then turns around and does the opposite it just really pisses me off. Even worse, if I catch myself failing to do what I said I would do, I get angry with myself! Yep. Unfortunately this is our normal condition. We say "I will do" and yet we "do not."

In Biblical terms, we are talking about covenants here. If you make a covenant you have to keep it. Period. If you don't want to be held to the terms and conditions, and don't want to face the penalties for failure, don't enter into the agreement in the first place. Simple, easy, no problem - except that our lives are filled with covenant making and breaking. Many of our covenants are implied rather than clearly stated. For example, if you sit down in a restaurant and order from the menu, you have created an implied covenant. You have agreed to pay for the meal at the price stated on the menu. If you go apply for a job and enter into service of another, you have created a covenant with you as the servant and another as the master. The limits of that servitude better be spelled out carefully if you don't want to avoid total slavery!

We make covenants like that all the time, usually without even being aware of it. Then, when the implied covenant is broken, we have a tendency to scream and yell about how unfairly we are being treated. But it's not unfair to hold someone to a covenant. In fact, holding someone to a covenant is called justice, the highest of moral virtues. Mankind has, without realizing it, entered into a covenant with Satan against God. The evil, the suffering, the pain of this existence is not because God desired it, but because God will maintain the integrity of every covenant that we make - one way or another.

So what if you don't want to make any covenants with God or against God? Fine. You are on your own. But remember about "implied covenants" and don't you dare use for yourself anything that God has created for Himself. Get it? How are you going to get food and water or air to breathe? You didn't create the Earth or the plants or the animals, so you are taking something that existed without you doing anything just in order to live. Oooops.

Throughout the Old Testament you see images of what happens to those who break their covenants with God. God holds them to the terms of the covenant, and sometimes (in fact most times) the failure to meet the covenant results in some pretty nasty goings-on. There is judgment followed by wrath all over the Bible. Whole nations are slaughtered, dying of famine, conquered, overrun by heathens, you name it. Of course those who want an excuse to hate God will point to all this madness and mayhem and blame it on God. They will say the "God of the Old Testament" (as if it were a different God somehow) is a vindictive, cruel tyrant. Look at all that wrath! Look at all the evil that happens! How can a good God do that or allow it to happen!!!

Oh puullleeease... What man wouldn't do exactly the same thing to those who violate covenants with him? PUT THE JERK IN JAIL! MAKE HIM PAY! TAKE AWAY HIS STUFF! Yep. Why do you think they have all this animosity towards the "God of the Old Testament?" First, because they are hypocrites who will not allow the same consideration towards God that they demand for themselves. Second, because they don't understand what God's goodness really is.

Man defines good and evil in terms of man. Evil (or simply calamity if you prefer) is seen as those things that end human life or cause suffering, or pain, or anything else that does not lead to human pleasure. Good is then defined as the opposite of evil. But notice that it is all centered around man, not God. God in those terms is only considered good if God is the servant of man's pleasure. If God does anything other than create a nice little playground where man can do whatever man wants without harmful consequences they say God must be bad (or non-existent). Nice, huh? If God can't be turned into a being who exists only to serve man, they will throw God out. That's equally true of theists and atheists, by the way. Religion can just as easily invent a fake god to serve man's best interests and sell the fake god to any who will buy into it. At least the atheist is a little more honest about it.

Of course, in all the ranting and ravings and accusations they fail to mention the parts of the Bible that talk about mercy and forgiveness. They fail to mention that throughout the Bible God preserves, defends and benefits those who follow God's ways. They tend to blame everything bad on God and everything good is awarded to man.

So let's get this straightened out once and for all...

God is good. God's goodness, however, is not defined using man's wellbeing as the benchmark. God's goodness is defined by what God says is good. Of course, that just really, really irritates the humanists. But it's the truth. God, to be God, must be thought of as the source of authority on what is good and what is not good. To define an ideal good that is above God is to reduce God to some lesser state of being. If we want to determine if God is good, we better understand what the difference really is between our idea of goodness and God's idea of goodness.

The temptation is to just say that God considers good to be those things that benefit God. That would be taking the humanist attitude and applying it to God. The Bible's answer is quite different. Often, God's goodness results in things that are not pleasing to God. He is the one who sent Jesus into the world to redeem the world and allowed Jesus to be crucified for our sakes. Get the picture? God took the pain and suffering on Himself for all those who will...


Yep, that's what God considers good: trustworthiness. And that is the message of good given throughout the Bible. Goodness means that someone can be trusted to do what he said he would do. The Israelites were promised that if they kept to the covenant given through Moses, God would bless them. If they did not hold to that covenant, there would be dire consequences. It all went down JUST LIKE GOD SAID IT WOULD. Get it? God's word was true, accurate, and complete. But God didn't just promise rewards for the lawful and punishment for the lawless. He went beyond that and made a promise that seems impossible to fulfill while remaining consistent with His word:

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:1-4,7)

This is just one example of what I am talking about. God has said that even though we have failed, He will show mercy. He will provide the means to obtain what we need without our having to pay the price for it. Learn to read the spiritual meaning in verses like this. It is not the literal water and bread and wine and milk that are to be obtained without price. These are spiritual metaphors. The things that are needed in order that "your soul shall live" are not things we can purchase; they must be provided for us by another. If we will trust God, He will make an "everlasting covenant" with us and provide exactly those things that we need.

So, how do we know that this is possible? How do we know that we can trust God to give us life? That's the point of the Bible, really. It shows over and over again that God's word to us can be trusted, even if we don't like the consequences, even if God desires something else. Unlike man, God does not go back on His word, even if it will cause Him pain and grief. He said that if man went against His ways, man would suffer because of it, and man has suffered. But He has said He will redeem all those who run to Him, and He will. The price that had to be paid for our covenant breaking was paid by Jesus at the cross. God can remain true to what He said - that the result of sin is death - while giving us life.

His word is TRUE. He has kept His word, and we can trust Him. That makes God good even by the lowest standards of human thinking. And that is what the Bible says is different between man and God:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:8-11)

What is different about God's ways is that He always keeps to His word. If we diligently seek out Him, come to understand what He has said, we can call on Him to keep His word. God IS good, not like a man who lies. God keeps His covenants. This is the promise of God, the covenant He will make with us:

Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. (Isa 56:1-2)

Once again, learn to read the spiritual metaphor. The "keeping of the Sabbath" is not referring to sitting around and not doing anything on the seventh day of the week. As Hebrews explains, we have our "rest" by appropriating the work of Jesus Christ. We cease from our futile attempts at righteousness, our constant covenant breaking, and rely on Jesus to fill us up with His righteousness. That is the water, bread and wine of spiritual life that we can obtain without price. He paid the price, and when we covenant with Him those things will give us life as well.

But we are not to do evil. In other words, we are not to break covenant and turn again to our own ways. We are to claim the promise and hold fast to it.

There is something else here in Isaiah 56 that must be said again and again.

Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (Is. 56:3-7)

There are still today many who want to limit salvation to a specific race or type of people. They just don't get it. God is God over all of mankind. He will redeem and save any who will call on Him. The strangers - those who were not of the chosen of Israel - would obtain a place equal to Israel. In other words, the only condition is to enter into God's covenant through Jesus Christ. No other requirement is put in place. Thus, never let anyone say that God will not accept you because of what you have done, or who your parents were, or money, or health, or anything else. Isaiah stated it and Jesus confirmed it: A House of Prayer for ALL People.

That means you and me both, because, after all, God IS GOOD. All those who will come and enter into His everlasting covenant, He will save. God said it and He will do it.




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