Psalm 103:1 (NIV):
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being; praise
His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
We are to praise God from the depths of our soul for His goodness and wonderful works. God’s goodness is a combination of all his benefits. There are so many benefits contained in the goodness of God that they are immeasurable and countless. God simply asks that we do not forget the benefits of His goodness. However, in spite of all the magnificent benefits contained in the goodness of God, it is amazing how quickly people fail to remember the benefits bestowed by Him. We can get so wrapped up in ourselves, or in the fears and worries of the times, that we forget to focus on the God of all goodness. It is astounding how soon people turn away from the God who is all good to the bondage of destructive evil. Much of the Old Testament records the rebellion of the children of Israel against the goodness of God. No better chapter in the Bible illustrates this than Nehemiah 9 which shows the incredible things that God did for Israel, and how they still rejected His goodness and forgot His benefits.
Nehemiah 9:25 (Amplified):
And they captured fortified cities and a rich land and took
possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns hewn
out, vineyards, olive orchards, and fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted
themselves in Your great goodness.
God provided so much for His children, taking care of every one of their needs that they delighted in God’s great goodness. He gave them great goodness in abundance. The first 24 verses of Nehemiah 9 set forth some of the great goodness of God to Israel. God made a covenant with Abraham to give him the land of Canaan; He delivered them from the wrath of Pharaoh with mighty signs and wonders; He parted the raging Red Sea so that His children could pass through in safety as the armies of Egypt were destroyed; He spoke and gave them true laws and just commandments. Let us pick up the record in verse 19:
Nehemiah 9:19-21 (NIV):
Because of your great compassion you did not abandon
them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease
to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night
to shine on the way they were to take.
You gave your good spirit to instruct them. You did not
withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave
them water for their thirst.
For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they
lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did
their feet become swollen.
How awesome is God’s goodness! He sustained His people for forty years in the tough conditions of the desert so that they lacked nothing. He fed them, He guided them, He instructed them, and He took care of them. His goodness was so complete that their clothes did not wear out for forty years, nor did their feet become swollen. Have you ever seen an infomercial selling clothes that don’t wear out? There is no sales rack at Wal-Mart of clothes that last forever. But look at the minute detail of the goodness of God: He even takes care of the condition of our clothes! How we have limited God in our thinking; how we have failed to see how big the goodness of God is and its limitless resources. God’s care of you is so great that it covers every aspect, every need, and every part of our lives from the hairs on our head to the shoes on our feet. There is never anything lacking in the goodness of God. God wants you to get Him involved in every part of your life so that He can take care of you and shower you with His goodness. God will never abandon you; God will never forsake you, and God will never forget you.
Isaiah 49:15,16 (Amplified):
[And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her
nursing child, and have no compassion on the son
of her womb? Yes they may forget , yet I will not
Behold I have indelibly printed [tattooed a picture
of] you on the palms of each of My hands; your
walls are continually before me.
One of the deepest and most intimate relationships of love is that of a mother and her child. Yet, at times even a mother has forgotten her child. But God’s love for us is even greater than this intense motherly bond of love, as He will never forget His children. This verse is breathtaking, as God Almighty’s love is so great that he has permanently tattooed a picture of His children on the palms of each of His hands so that they are continually before Him and a part of Him. Tattooing is not a pleasant but rather a painful process, but God is willing to endure the pain to tattoo a picture of you on one of the most sensitive parts of the body, the palms of His hands. There is not a moment of the day or night where God does not see and remember you, for your picture is tattooed on His palms. What comfort and peace there is in knowing that God Almighty will absolutely never forget you! To use a popular phrase of the day, God will never say, “I want to quit you.” God will never quit loving you, never quit cherishing you, never quit blessing you, never quit caring for you, and never quit bestowing his goodness upon you. God will never take a vacation from you and will never walk away from you. Just as we carry around in a wallet or purse a picture of our loved ones, God goes even further and has tattooed a picture of you on His palms and in His heart. Look at your self in the mirror and tell yourself that you are God’s most beloved child, and that He surrounds you with His love and goodness. You are something; you are wonderfully unique; there is nobody like you; you are God’s masterpiece. When we have this knowledge, we can truly say that God is good. This incredible relationship of love, where God does not forsake or forget us, is an important aspect of the goodness of God.
Hebrews 13:5(b) (Amplified):
For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any
way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without
support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree
leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down
(relax my hold on you).
This is the goodness of God: that He will never fail you, never forsake you, never give up on you, never leave you helpless, and never leave you without support. What a wonderful verse of scripture that we should emblazon in our heart and soul.
Isaiah 46:4 (NIV):
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am
he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will
carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
How encouraging it is to know that God will sustain us; that God will carry you and rescue you all the days of your life. This is God’s goodness, and it is so awe-inspiring that it leaves one speechless. We should be so thankful that our God is good. One then has to wonder how someone could reject this magnificent goodness of God and turn away from it. Yet, the children of Israel went from delighting in God’s goodness to turning their backs on it. They forgot His benefits.
Nehemiah 9:16,17 (NIV):
But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and
stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands.
They refused to listen and failed to remember the
miracles you performed among them. They became
stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader
in order to return them to slavery. But you are a for-
giving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to
anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not
Their arrogance and pride blinded them to God’s great goodness, and they chose to return to slavery. God had every right to desert them, but He did not. Verse 17 lists some of the wonderful traits of the God of goodness: that He is forgiving, compassionate, gracious, and abounding in love.
Nehemiah 9:33-37(b) (NIV):
In all that happened to us, you have been just; you
have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.
Our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our fathers
did not follow your law; they did not pay attention
to your commands or the warnings you gave them,
Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your
great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land
you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from
their evil ways.
But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave
our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other
good things it produces.
[W]e are in great distress.
God is always faithful to bring great goodness to your life when you love and serve Him. God does not want you in distress and enslaved to anything. But if we turn our heart away from this God of goodness, love, and compassion, then the only alternative is slavery to someone or something. A person will always have emptiness in life without a relationship with God, who is all good. A person cannot fill that void with money, or drugs, or pleasure, or work. It’s a temporary fix, as it never satisfies; it never fulfills; it never completes. God wants a personal, vibrant, loving relationship with you more than you could ever know. God desires to cradle you in His bosom and bless you all the days of your life. God wants to protect you, to strengthen you, to comfort you, to love you, and to help you. God wants to break the chains of any and every form of slavery of mind, body, and spirit that maybe inflicting your life. God’s goodness brings no bondage; it brings no distress; it brings no fear; it brings no misery. God’s goodness brings joy, it brings delight, it brings peace, it brings wholeness, and it brings freedom.
Psalm 73:28 (Revised English Bible):
But my chief good is to be near you, God! I have
chosen you, Lord God, to be my refuge, and I
shall recount all your works.
Draw near to God and let the light of His goodness melt away every trouble in your life. Our chief good is always to fellowship and bask in the light of our Fathers presence. This wonderful relationship of a Father with His children is the foundation of a good, blessed, and prosperous life. Let us not forget all His benefits.