No Good Thing…


For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. – Psalm 84:11

This is an incredible promise and one that those who trust in the Lord can place their hope. It’s also the kind of verse that is so often misunderstood and taken as a promise for the unbelieving, or even worse used in prosperity teaching. I have full confidence that this verse is completely true, yet I don’t always know what’s good for me.

Yesterday our two-year old daughter Lydia openly defied instruction and I was able to live out this verse in her life. She is my daughter, I love her, and I won’t withhold what is good for her. However, she didn’t see it that way. In fact she really didn’t care much for my love for her and I’m reminded that often what might not seem “good” is what we really need the most.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This verse is also often misquoted as to provide comfort to people and used in evangelism without understanding the whole story. I know I’ve used this verse wrongly in the past and I’d like to really look at what’s “good” and what the LORD will not withhold from us.

Jeremiah was called by God to speak to a wicked and rebellious generation, to call them to repentance and return to the LORD. What an overwhelming task. What an overwhelming task before us today, to preach the gospel of peace to people. Those same people that don’t want to hear, just as those God sent Jeremiah to.

Jeremiah 38:6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.

When Jeremiah preached the good news he was rewarded with a trip to the dungeon and for God’s eternal purposes this was good for him. It’s not our general idea of good, but this word means – (to be good, be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial, be pleasant, be favourable, be happy, be right). I’m not sure the experience of the mire was pleasant for Jeremiah, but it was certainly beneficial.

Our experiences, the ones that we don’t necessarily deem enjoyable are beneficial. They are meant for good. We see this in the example of Joseph.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Doesn’t this sound familiar to Jeremiah’s story and more importantly how it points us to Jesus?

Acts 13:27-33 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the father. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.

Jesus considered the joy that was set before Him, the cross that He would die upon, the physical torture and for the only time in eternity, He would have the wrath of God poured out upon Him, a benefit. A benefit that His called out ones could bring Him glory on this earth, because this is the ultimate reality of salvation; the glory of God.

It is, after all, the chief end of man.

Beloved, we must consider our momentary trials and tribulations pure joy (James 1:2-4). The scripture leaves no room for any other interpretation. It’s not always fun. It’s not always our desire, but it is providentially God’s plan for you, and for me. This is a bitter pill to swallow far more often than we desire. But if you are in Christ, you are a new creation, and we can take comfort that God has a plan that far outweighs our comfort.



That’s not my god!

who is your god

Have you ever heard anyone make this statement?  I think it’s a pretty common thing for people to say.  What they really mean is “I don’t like that God”.  Today I want to touch on a topic that will challenge most people’s thinking about God.  Understanding the true God of the Bible is a very difficult subject and all unregenerate people in the world have rejected the true God and serve a “god” of their own making; a direct violation of the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).

Today I’d like to take a quick look at God’s relation to evil.  One of the big stumbling blocks to Christianity is the age old statement, “how can a good god allow so much evil in the world?”  Today I will show that God not only allows evil but He is the creator of evil and He causes evil.  However He is never to be blamed for evil, does not directly do evil, and never takes pleasure in evil (James 1:12-15).

Before we begin I want to say this is in no-way a thorough study of this topic and I encourage you to dig deeper if this article troubles you.  This is a very delicate subject because evil is very real in the world and Christians should never participate in or approve of evil deeds.  We are to abhor evil just as God does (Romans 1:32, Proverbs 17:15).

God allows evil

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The story of Joseph is a great example of God allowing evil to be used for good, as He providentially uses the evil acts of Joseph’s brothers to direct His ultimate plan for the preserving of life.  This seems tolerable for us today as we consider the life of Joseph but what if we draw it closer to home and look at the shootings in Newtown Connecticut?

Can we see the good that God will do by allowing this to happen?  Or do you detest His goodness even in the loss of life?

Is it possible God caused this for His ultimate purposes?  Do you like a God like this?  Will you serve a God like this?

God creates evil

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I the LORD, do all these things.

Can you buy into this God?  Some may reject this teaching and may accuse me of pulling this verse out of context or say this can be interpreted differently, but I can’t see how that is possible.  If we study what each one of these words mean it becomes very clear it means exactly what it says.

Let’s look at four of the key words

I formyaw-tsar’ – denotes forming or molding into a shape

Create baw-raw’ – means to create, choose or be the creator

Calamity rah, raw-aw’ – bad or evil

Do – aw-saw’ – to do or make

So here comes the age old question.  “Why would a good God allow and cause evil to happen in the world?”  Let’s come back to that after we look at my last statement.

God causes evil

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

Job 1:12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”

Job 1:18-19 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

God used Satan to kill all ten of Job’s children.  Is God responsible for this act?  You might want to think so because that is where our minds naturally go.  Look at what God then says to Satan.

Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?  And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause.”

I find this an incredibly revealing yet difficult statement by God.

God asks Satan to consider Job.

Satan destroys Job’s children.

Could Satan have said no?  Who is responsible for the evil that happened?  Clearly Satan did the evil act, not God.  Satan is responsible.  Similarly, if you do an evil act, you are responsible.

Back to the question, why does God allow, create and cause evil?  The answer is surprisingly simple yet very difficult to understand completely.  He does it for His Glory.

When I was first saved I came to an understanding that the god I was serving was not the God of the Scriptures.  He was a concoction of my own mind.  It was difficult to understand “this God” without His work in my heart, but Scripture and the Holy Spirit allowed my mind to be transformed.

Ephesians 1:11-12 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

We will not have a full understanding of God’s purposes outside of His revelation.  Friends we have His revealed will in the Holy Scriptures and we must embrace those teachings no matter how difficult.  I pray that you are challenged by this today but won’t reject it.  This is God.  Worship Him today for who He is and allow Him to work in you mightily.