You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes (Psalm 119:68, ESV).
What is good to you? Maybe, it’s the first sip of coffee, on a crisp fall morning. Maybe good is kissing chubby baby toes and hearing baby belly laughs. Maybe good is calling a dear friend, who leans right into your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. We often name the comforts and joys we experience “blessings.” Blessings are the good stuff in our lives. Underneath all the comforts, joys, and blessings is God—He’s the real good stuff of our lives.
God IS good. He is all the good there is, every drop. He is the Creator of good: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
Goes DOES good. His actions are above reproach. His works are full of compassion and kindness because He is infinitely generous. “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30, NIV). He makes good things, keeps things in good working order, and creates plans and guidelines to promote good for all of His creation.
GOOD: TÔWB (Hebrew)
I love looking into God’s Word to see what each word means. In the Bible, word meanings are often deeper and more significant than we realize. Studying the original language is powerful. Studying the word good, teaches us that the Hebrew word (Tôwb) also means precious, fine, wealth, beautiful, fairer, pleasant, sweet, cheerful…and the list of goodnesses goes on. To say that God is good is to say that God is goodness itself. He’s all of the best good stuff (to the moon and back).
I don’t have a seminary degree, but I have some awesome books and I have my good friend, Google. Several years ago, Google introduced me to a helpful website called Biblehub. Among other things, this website has an interlinear Bible search function. I often use this interlinear Bible to discover the original Hebrew words in the verses I’m studying. After that, I use one of my favorite reference books. In this case, I used my Strong’s Concordance with Vine’s Dictionary (see below).
Another tool I like to use is my favorite Bible app, Biblegateway, to compare different versions of the same verse. Here we see a richer reading of the same words:
You are good, and the source of good;
train me in your goodness (Psalm 119:68, MSG).
I like this last part. It’s my prayer— Lord, train me in your goodness. Other versions say “statutes” or “decrees.” Human nature has a dysfunctional relationship with obedience. Some of us, full-on, can’t tolerate obedience and chafe at the idea of surrender. Others of us want to twist obedience till it becomes an idol, living like obedience is our salvation.
Obedience is simply agreeing with God that His ways are best. An obedient life is a life that confesses our faith in God, our love for Him. Jesus said, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 14:31, ESV).
Still, some days I struggle to be kind and selfless. Often, when someone is provoking me, I have trouble fleeing anger. And bitterness stalks me like a roaring lion. All the while, I know choosing to imitate God’s goodness is better.
When we can’t seem to imitate God, we can trust even more in His goodness. God is so good that He has provided for all the ways we fall short. His goodness transforms us, little by little. The Psalmists explains God’s plan: God trains us in His goodness.
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