6. The Goodness of God.

We seldom doubt the existence of God and his ability but we often question the willingness of God, because we haven’t understood the goodness of God yet !
A man with leprosy came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
( Mt 8 : 3 ) Jesus touched him instantly, as if to assure him of God’s willingness, inspite of his faith being far from perfect. The goodness of God was being revealed to the world in Christ, just as it was revealed to Moses, in the cleft of the rock – In Exodus 33 : 17 – 18, we read : And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do everything you have asked because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory” ( Hebrew : kābôd means splendor or glory )
It was through Moses that God had displayed his awesome power, as he led a band of slaves to freedom from the most powerful civilization on earth and it was through him that God had dramatically parted the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites to miraculously escape from the Egyptian army who pursued them. And on the other side, he had also seen God’s mercy and forbearance in dealing with the Israelites, when they rebelled against him in the desert. Overwhelmed by the goodness of God, he was eager to see the face of the person behind these spectacular deeds. ( During his first encounter with God at Horeb, when God appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush, he was afraid to look at God when he heard God say : “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob.” At this Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3 : 6 ) But since then he had come a long way and experienced the goodness of the God, along the way. )
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence … There is a place near me where you may stand on the rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen … And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished …” (Ex 33 : 18 – 34 :7 ) –
When asked to reveal his face, God revealed his character instead and this self description of God became for the Jews a profound summary of God’s nature. The Old Testament quotes or alludes to this passage more than any other. God doesn’t seem to glory in his splendor and power but he seems to glory in his good nature. We glory in our looks and introduce ourselves to others by our names and by our achievements but God introduced himself to Moses by his character ! Put in the cleft of a rock, Moses heard the description of the goodness of God, as he passed by. That is why Scripture says : ‘He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel : The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love …’ (Psalm 103 : 7 )
And that Rock was Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 10 : 4 ) It is in ‘Christ the Rock’ that we receive this revelation about the goodness of God.
In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form …’ ( Colossians 2 : 9 ) So Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” ( John 14 : 9 )
The word ‘euangelion’ which in Greek means ‘good news’, was translated as ‘Gospel’ (Old English : ‘gõd spell’ means ‘good message’ ) It is the goodness of God that makes the message of the Gospel so good to those who hear it. The saints of old had themselves appealed to the goodness of God, in the face of adversity.
‘I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ ( Psalm 27 : 13 ) NASB
Give me a sign of your goodness that my enemies may see it and be put to shame.’ ( Psalm 86 : 17 )
And we ourselves have chanted the popular refrain : ‘God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good !’
The sacrifice on the cross is the ultimate expression of the goodness of God, where his heart was revealed to mankind when he was pierced for their transgressions and crushed for their iniquities’. ( Isaiah 53 : 5 )
God demonstrated his love for us in this : While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ ( Romans 5 : 8 ) If we ever tend to doubt the goodness of God, the sacrifice on the cross should assure us of his infinite goodness. Amen !

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