Comprehending God’s Eternal Goodness, Mercy and Grace

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ~ Ps 84:11

Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul began and ended almost every epistle by proclaiming grace and peace to the reader ‘from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’? The first lesson in living a life of faith is to understand the availability of God’s eternal goodness, mercy and grace.

Grace is defined as the ‘free and unmerited favor of God’. It is manifested not just in salvation, but also in blessing. Mercy is at the heart of forgiveness. It is grace in action, bestowing goodness instead of judgment or retribution. Goodness is … good! And God wants to do you good all the time!

Think about it. If you’ve got God’s goodness, mercy and grace, and you know it (because a lot of people don’t recognize or accept God’s hand in their lives), the result is peace. Peace is not just tranquility. God’s definition is more encompassing. It is translated from the Hebrew word, shalom, that means ‘fully supplied with nothing missing or broken’. Peace leaves no holes in your life.

The Apostle John explained God’s goodness, mercy and grace this way: Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2). God calls you ‘Beloved’. Why? Because He loves you. He wants you to do well physically, financially, mentally and emotionally (socially, also, because nothing is more important to God than relationship). You must learn to trust His overwhelming love, His desire to do you good – no matter what happened in your past.

Paul learned that lesson on the road to Damascus. As an important member of the Jewish hierarchy, his stated mission was persecuting and killing those who followed Jesus. He travelled the region, judged the new Christians as traitors and had them jailed or stoned. Their faith was not compatible with His understanding of religion.

Then, he met Jesus personally. The murderer, Saul, was transformed by God’s goodness, mercy and grace into the Apostle Paul, author of two-thirds of the New Testament.

The point I’m trying to make here is that nothing you can do or not do affects God’s desire to show you His goodness, mercy and grace. Remember playing hide and seek? If you were IT, you turned your back and counted to ten. Presumably, no one was in sight, but they were still there. Well, if you’re not seeing God in your life, if you’re not seeing goodness, mercy and blessing, go looking for Him. He’s still there. You’re just facing the wrong direction. The same thing happened to the Israelites.

The first five books of the Bible show God’s care of His people, even when they rebelled. (Actually, the whole Bible does that, but for this article, we’ll keep our focus smaller.)

If you’ve ever had to discipline a child, especially for a major infraction, you can understand on a small scale how God must have felt when He had to let the Israelites suffer the penalty for their actions. From Adam to Moses, they were rebellious, much like a two-year-old who constantly proclaims, “I can do it myself!” Often, the only way to prove them wrong was to let them try.

That independent attitude led to the tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and ultimately to slavery in Egypt. But God wanted to do them good. He even told Abraham (more than 400 years before Moses) what would happen … and that He had already planned for their release. Can you imagine how God hoped they would learn their lesson?

He spent years preparing Moses, teaching him to hear and obey, to trust His voice. God knew the kind of man He needed to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites through the Red Sea to the Promised Land.

“I’ve given it to you! Just trust me,” He told them.

But despite release from more than 400 years of slavery and all the miracles they witnessed – frogs and darkness and the death of every Egyptian first-born to the parting of the Red Sea – they refused to believe God’s goodness. Instead they grumbled and complained, build a golden calf and told God they wouldn’t listen to Him anymore.

God didn’t choose to withhold His goodness and protection. The Israelites decided they would not receive it, that they would not listen to or believe God. They frustrated the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). When the spies returned from their reconnaissance trip, only two were willing to accept God’s word. The other ten complained about how hard it would be and how big the giants were and that it couldn’t be done – even after God had already said, “I’ve given it to you!”

The result was that they wandered the desert places for 40 years – to complete what should have been an eleven-day trip! Yet in all that time, God’s presence stayed with them. Why? Because of His eternal goodness, mercy and grace. He never gave up on them; they gave up on Him. Both Deuteronomy and Nehemiah testify that despite the 40-year delay, God sustained them. He provided water from the rock and manna from the sky. Their clothes did not age, and their shoes didn’t wear out. If you’ve got an old pair of shoes in your closet, you know what a miracle that was!

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Cor. 9:8). How do you get ‘all sufficiency’? Through the grace and favor of God! He wants to not only meet your needs; He wants you to have more than you need so you can help(bless) someone else

I love those who love me; and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me. (Prov. 8:17 AMP) God has more goodness, mercy and grace for you than you can possibly comprehend. But you have to know it and cooperate with Him to receive it.

Seeking him ‘early’ doesn’t necessarily mean getting up while it’s still dark (although that’s my favorite time to study). I think God means to seek him early when you face a problem. Don’t wait until you’ve exhausted every other option, whined and cried and complained. Seek Him first – early – in the process. His wisdom, grace, favor, goodness and mercy are available 24/7 – but only if you make yourself aware and open to Him.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8) You can’t earn God’s goodness, mercy or grace; but you can be grateful, accept His bounty by faith, and guard your heart from the world’s wiles.

Whatever you need for your spiritual, mental, physical, financial or social life, God has it ready for you. Matthew (7:7) says to ask, seek and knock. Don’t try to meet your own needs, locking God out of the problem. He wants you to come to Him and ask. Then He wants you to believe without wavering. It takes time, attention and study to get to that point of absolute trust, but you can do it. Put your trust in Him. Acknowledge your weakness and inability. Be humble enough to follow His instructions without doubt or fear. He really does have a good plan for your life. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (John: 6:23). Why will God answer your petitions? Because He wants to give you joy!

His Grace abounds toward you (Rom . 5:20). Abound means to exist in large amounts, to overflow and teem with, to be crowded with. You should be crowded with more than enough. More than enough what? ALL THINGS! Whatever you need – joy, peace, prosperity, health, energy, ideas, wisdom. The list is as endless as you can imagine.

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