Enjoying the goodness of God – Part 2
George Burder, 1838, defines the goodness of God thus, “The goodness of God is a very comprehensive term. It includes all the forms of His kindness shown to men; whether considered as creatures, as sinners, or as believers. When it relieves the miserable, it is mercy; when it bestows favours on the worthless, it is grace, when it bears with provoking rebels, it is long-suffering; when it confers promised blessings, it is truth; when it supplies indigent beings, it is bounty.”
Psalm 107 is a comprehensive passage that highlights the goodness of God to humanity. It is a picture of humanity and their needs. It represents all of us. Gill comments that “Four sorts of persons are mentioned, travellers through a wilderness, prisoners, sick persons, and such who use the seas; to which some add a fifth, husbandmen. These are instanced in, not to the exclusion of others, but from them, it may be concluded that whatsoever state or condition persons may be in, they are known and taken notice of by the Lord, and are relieved by Him when they call upon Him.”
The first group comprises travellers, or call them wanderers through the journey of life, searching for safety. They were hungry, thirsty and famished. When they cried to God, He led them to a safe city for a dwelling place.
The second group is prisoners. They “sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons.” When they cried to God, they were released from their confinement.
Those in the third group were bound by sickness and drawn near the gates of death. They also experienced deliverance, when they cried out to God.
Those in the fourth group were sailors, businesspeople and such that go to the sea. Here, they encountered ferocious storms, which made them reel and stagger. At their wit’s end, they cried out to God to silence the storm. They are delivered. Each of these groups of people testified of the goodness of God for their rescue.
In the fifth group, which some classify as husbandmen, we see the sundry acts of God as a Creator, Who changes the circumstances of life in any way He deems fit. At His discretion, he turns the rivers to dry ground, and at his will, he also turns the wilderness into a pool of water. All these show the providence and sovereignty of God over creation.
In all, we can say that God’s goodness extends to the rich and the poor; to the male and the female; to those within the Church and outside the Church; to the white, the coloured and the black; to the wise and the foolish; surprisingly, to the lazy and the hardworking; to the skilled and unskilled; to the sinner and the saint. To the believer and atheist; to all creatures which God has created.
Psalm 107 shows that God’s goodness is available to all, no matter what their conditions are in life or where we find ourselves. When we cry to God, He responds to us in His goodness. In other words, we can access the goodness of the Lord through prayer or by calling upon Him. In difficulty, it is those who call upon His name that enjoy the blessing of His goodness most.
However, the distinction needs to be made that, while God’s goodness extends to all mankind, the privilege of adoption into the family of God is exclusively for His sons. Sonship places the believer on a different pedestal; sonship is a privilege enjoyed by believers alone.
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