GOODNESS GRACIOUS Andy Hollifield 12-31-18
Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
It would sound egotistical if anyone else said this about himself. This was God speaking to Moses, telling him about who he was. I remember those two words being a frequent saying of my dad. He would say it when something was so incredible or maybe even ridiculous that it was almost beyond belief. I still catch myself saying it from time to time. Ridiculous certainly wouldn’t apply when talking about God but “Goodness Gracious” certainly would. God’s description of himself in verses six and seven would certainly be incredible and almost hard to believe. What a God we have!
The word goodness is used 51 times in the bible. As I began to think back about 2018, even with all of its issues, goodness is the first word that came to mind. The psalmist thought it was pretty important and said in Psalms 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” It’s funny how goodness and mercy go together isn’t it? The only reason we get to enjoy God’s goodness is because of his mercy. In 27:13 he said “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” He is saying that the only thing that kept him going was that he believed and seen God’s goodness. How many times would I have sat down and threw up my hands and quit except I believed and seen his goodness. Psalms 107 mentions the goodness of God five times in that chapter. In verse 9 it he says “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Many times in my life he has come along and filled my soul and satisfied it with nothing but his goodness. Goodness is not just an attribute of God but it is who he is. Goodness comes from the heart and is manifested in our lives by the way we conduct ourselves. It is also listed in Galatians 5:22 as the sixth fruit of the Spirit. It is right in between gentleness and faith.
Out of 31 times that “gracious” is used, 13 times it is mentioned either with mercy or compassion or both. Guess what one of the definitions of “gracious” is: merciful or compassionate. When I look back at 2018, goodness and gracious are how I would have to describe it. I have been to the funeral home on a number of occasions this year, and even known about others passing. I’ve seen folks endure sickness and hardship and life has even smacked me in the mouth a few times this year. We have all had mechanical issues and other aggravations but overall I have to admit that God has been very merciful and compassionate to me. Psalms 65:11 says “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” The blessings and tender mercies of God have been just like the Lord said in Exodus 34:6; they have been abundant. I don’t know that they have been any more abundant than usual or if I have just appreciated them more. A lot of times we look back at the passing year and look first for the bad times and events. We would not be near as disgusted, beat down, and miserable if we would look for the blessings and compassion and mercies of the Lord first.
In retrospect I would have to say that he has most definitely satisfied my longing soul and filled my hungry soul with his goodness. I have seen heartache and tragedy, desperation and defeat. I have seen the trouble of this world yet I am not distressed cause I am trusting in the Lord and his goodness. Things have perplexed me but they have never brought me to despair. Persecutions have been light but even through all of these things God has never forsaken me. I have been thrown down a few times but never destroyed and still standing to face another year with the Lord. Considering all of his mercy and blessings; all I can say is “Goodness Gracious” I am blessed! Happy New Year and have a blessed day in the Lord!!!