A Good, Good Father…It’s who He is.
Chris Tomlin wasn’t joking around when he identified that we have a good, good father, but he also wasn’t the first to identify it.
The Psalmist cries out in Psalm 136:1:
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Moses asked for God’s glory and what did he get? God showed Moses all His goodness instead, and it’s goodness overload. Goodness so good that Moses couldn’t be allowed to see the frontside of it, or else it would literally kill him with goodness and God loved Him too much for that. You can read the full account of this in Exodus 33:13-23. I’ll highlight verses 19 and 20 here:
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
Jesus, in great humility, without revealing his position as God-in-human-flesh, clarifies that goodness can only come in and through God the Father, in Mark 10:17-18:
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Aka – “…you won’t find goodness elsewhere, kind sir. What exactly is it, you’re really looking for?”
What are we really looking for when we look for good?
Do we want stuff that’s good?
Do we want to feel good?
Do we want a good reputation or good job, good health, a good future?
All these things are nice, but they aren’t necessarily good, because good only comes from the Good, Good Father. We know this because we have the gift of the book of James, which will be our course of study over the next six weeks.
Let’s dig in to James chapter 1. If you have your Bible out, read the whole chapter. It’s a gem and we’ll be resting there all week long, so you can get a bookmark for it and get cozy. Here I will focus in on James 1:16-17 for today’s study:
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James connects some dots for us. God’s not just Good, he’s a Father to us, and He’s not just a Father to us, He’s a Good one. God’s goodness is wrapped in Fatherly affection and His Fatherly affection is all kinds of goodness.
The devil wants to deceive us on two accounts.
First, God is Who He says He is.
The devil would have us believe that because of our earthly experience, God can not be good and He surely can not be a good father. This is particularly hard for anyone with an extremely imperfect or even terrible father. God, is perfect in every way, including in His role as our Heavenly Father. There are many things in life that feel less than good. It’s easy to piece those things together and make-up in our head a God that isn’t for our good- disease, shootings, poverty, bankruptcy, family turmoil, and life turmoil all demand accounting for.
We can rest in the Truth of Scripture that tells us over and over, in the midst of chaos, in the seasons we are pummeled by storms, that He is Good. He is the Father of lights, not the Father of darkness.
“…do not be deceived, beloved brothers.” Trust in His Good Word.
Second, He is steadfast.
The devil is the shifty one, not our Good Father. God is unchanging in nature. This is attached to his goodness in the book of James. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He isn’t a shifting shadow of darkness. The devil aims to deceive us into believing that God is unsure, unsafe, because it’s more damaging that way- it pulls and stretches us to our limits, it leaves us feeling doubtful and questioning, but God is in the questions too.
“…with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth…”
He is steadfast, no variation. The Greek root word for variation in James 1:17 is parallage, which can mean a change, variation, or mutation. God does not mutate. The devil may make himself into a snake to fool us, but God does not try to trick us. James tells us that it’s not in His nature. God has His own will and He is subject to no one. He lays His Will out for us in the Word, particularly in the saving work of Jesus Christ. In Christ, all goodness is ours – redemption, forgiveness, life, and eternity.
As we study James, this will be our foundation:
A Good, Good Father, steadfast and true, with many-a gift for us to discover as we spend time with Him and in His Good, Good Word.
What do you think people want, when they want good?
How does God offer us good and then something more?
How have you seen the Good, Good Father work in your life, or when has it been hard to see Him working good in your life?