Imagine that God had a top ten prayers –list in Heaven. What do you think…
GOD IS GOOD
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
What do you believe about God? What attributes do you ascribe to Him? What springs to your mind when you hear the word “God”? In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer states that
(w)hat comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. (Tozer; The Knowledge of the Holy, p.1)
A few weeks ago, I began a fairly slow read of the book mentioned above. Although dense and theoretical at times, Tozer’s insights into God’s person have depth that is rarely attained in more recent spiritual literature. Reading Tozer prompted me to pray that God would show me what I believe of Him and correct unconscious heresies. And true to His goodness, He began the process!
Perhaps you are similar to me and have lived under a vague confusion concerning God’s goodness. Perhaps you do not really know if God is good or not. This was my case. You may sing and confess His goodness like I have done countless times. You may even have experienced it in tangible ways like me. Yet your view of Him may unconsciously be close to that of the unfeeling judge in Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8). Yet, in the parable in question Jesus underlines that God is a different kind of God. He delights in being good to us because He is good. As Tozer states it:
If God is not good, then there can be no distinction between kindness and cruelty, and heaven can be hell and hell, heaven. (Tozer; p.106)
So, at present I am discovering God’s goodness in a new way. He is not just occasionally good, kind or benevolent. He is thoroughly good, through and through! And the implications of this theological shift are profound. Joy, freedom, peace and expectancy are all released in a new way when we realise His true nature. In my case, I find out that
- We can approach God because He is good. (He sent Jesus to die for us.)
- We pray to Him because He is good. (Otherwise prayer would be a waste of time!)
- We can receive an answer to our prayers again because He is good! (Our prayers are not answered because of any merits from our side.)
What sense would it make to ask God for anything if He were mean, indifferent or just totally unpredictable? If God were not good, our prayers would be like playing lottery at best. Those who play just might receive the greatest prize – but most of the time playing the game is equivalent to a waste of time, money and hopes.
How would the realization of God’s goodness affect you personally? How would it influence your prayer life? How would it change the way you worship? What about the way you intercede?
This week I will end with a hymn from Charles Wesley:
O God, my hope, my heavenly rest,
My all of happiness below.
Grant my importunate request,
To me, to me, Thy goodness show;
Thy beatific face display,
The brightness of eternal day,
Before my faith’s enlightened eyes,
Make all Thy gracious goodness pass;
Thy goodness is the sight I prize:
O might I see Thy smiling face:
Thy nature in my soul proclaim,
Reveal Thy love, Thy glorious name.