**And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth** Exodus 34:6
For the last several years, our group here has been reading the Bible through each year. It has really helped me have the structure I need to give me a better overall view of the Lord. I tend to wander from book to book when I am not following a schedule and lose sight of the overall picture. I can also get happily bogged down in a chapter or even a few verses like we just did in Colossians 3. I always learn a lot when I park on a certain passage, but reading from Genesis to Revelation helps me to see how Colossians 3 or any other verse fits in the Lord’s overall plan.
I am reading through Ezekiel right now and the thing that has impacted me is the judgment that the Lord brings on the nations that have forsaken Him and followed other gods and pleasures. Nearing the end of the year, our schedule takes us through the Major and Minor Prophets. They are filled with warnings of the judgments to come. Some have already happened and others we have yet to see.
All this bad news for those nations can get me feeling pretty discouraged. After reading several chapters of all that is waiting for those that deny Him and refuse to follow Him, I tend to take a step back in my heart with God. I ask myself…How He can be that harsh? How can He be so final with entire nations?
Thankfully, I don’t stay there long. The Lord quickly reminds me of Noah and the lengths that He took to save Noah and his family. I also think of Nineveh and how they repented because of Jonah’s preaching. I think of how He took care of the nation of Israel even with all their whining and complaining. i think of His patience and compassion with Abraham when Abraham kept beating around the bush concerning his nephew Lot and his family and their safety. And how although the Lord didn’t find ANY righteous people in Sodom, He saved Lot anyway, for Abraham’s sake.
We have all heard someone ask….’How can God let all these bad things happen in the world?’
My answer today is…He doesn’t. ….we do…we are the culprits that bring bad things into our world. We are the problem, not God. We have always been the problem.
The Lord’s desire is to bless His creation and care for them. He wants to be close to them. He wants to give them only good things. In fact, that’s what He continually does. Everything that happens in our lives or in the lives of others is wrapped in His goodness. We can’t always see the wrapping, not in the beginning at least. But it is there. God’s intentions are always good. His desire is to always help us. He is **abundant in goodness** as Exodus 24 tells us.
Moses knew that. Jonah knew that. Noah knew that. Abraham and Sarah knew that. David knew that. Ruth, Esther, and Mary Magdalene knew that. The woman with the issue of blood knew that.
So, when I am trudging through the judgments prophesied on the nations….I remember the Lord’s goodness. His goodness to every nation on the planet, through all of time and …His goodness to me.
He saved me out of a desperate and doomed life. He put me in a healthy family. He restored my marriage. He sent me across the ocean to serve Him and so that I would feel safe for the first time in my life. He has given me gifts to serve Him with and to help others. He gave me children when the doctors said I would probably not be able to have any. He has grown me and strengthened me. He has been infinitely merciful to me through all of my mistakes and He has been exceedingly gracious every single day.
So, if you are like me, and struggle with the final judgment on the nations of the world…. Remember His goodness. His sovereign and abundant goodness to all of them over many generations and the many chances He gave them to change. And then remember His abundant goodness in your own life. Maybe some of you would like to share with us the goodness that the Lord has shown you over the years.
We would love to hear about it!