Recently on a Sunday morning I was singing a worship song that had as one of its main lyrics, ‘His Goodness is running after, its running after me.” From the song ‘Goodness of God’ by Jenn Johnson. I found it to be an interesting concept, so much so that I felt led by the Holy Spirit to do a study on its meaning. Most worship songs are birthed out of a particular scripture and this is no exception. In Psalm 23:6, (NLT) King David wrote: “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.”
Most Bible translations of Psalm 23:6, use the word goodness. I could not find however, the word running in any translation. I did find the words, pursue or be with me which obviously speaks of an intent on God’s part to engage, seek out and come alongside of us. I would much rather be pursued by God’s goodness and unfailing love than pursued by Satan’s vileness and cruel hatred. Nothing describes Satan’s pursuit of us better or should awaken us more than 1 Peter 5:8, (NIV) “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” and John 10:10, (NIV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;…”
There are three virtues mentioned in the Bible that are primarily ascribed to the goodness of God, they are faith, hope and love. One thing we can’t deny is that the Bible doesn’t just say that God does good things. It says that God is good. It is not just what he does; it is who he is — and who he is will never change. Goodness is a true commitment to choosing right over wrong, good over evil. As the Bible tells us in Matthew 5:16, (NIV) “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Our good works point directly to our Father in Heaven. It is the measure of God’s goodness which is displayed in our lives that will determine to what extent God can use us for the work of His Kingdom.
He Pursues us so we can again experience the Glory that we
lost in the Garden
To be in pursuit of someone means to follow them in order to overtake, capture, kill or defeat. The most successful pursuits are the one’s that ‘follow a plan’ which ensures what is pursued will be overtaken and its goal accomplished. From the beginning our Father has actively pursued us, his children, so that his goodness along with his virtues, which defines who He is, would continue to define us as well. His plan is to overtake us with his love, capture our hearts, put an end to our fleshly desires (Gal. 5:16-21) and have us defeat the enemies plan for our life.
The entire Bible contains the record of God’s passionate pursuit of our heart. His pursuit began in Genesis with “Where are You?” (Gen. 3:9), and ends with, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17) It is a pursuit that draws us towards him with cords of kindness which are made up of three strands, faith, hope and love. However, it is not always a pleasant experience, because of our rebellious attitude, there will be times when we will be faced with difficult choices, choices that must be captured, defeated and ultimately destroyed.
Have you ever had anyone run after you with the intent to make you stop and turn around so they could tell you something? If you are like me you probably have had that happen more than once in in your life. There are times when we think we are the one’s pursuing God when in reality He is the one pursuing us. He is literally running after us, with outstretched arms, trying to get out attention, inviting us to live and move and have our being in him.
The Measure of Our Strength
The measure of goodness or ‘righteousness’ we possess, and the virtue or ‘moral excellence’ we exhibit determines the amount of strength and knowledge we have available to overcome any plan the enemy may use against us.
The degree of Strength and Knowledge we possess determines the amount of Virtue we exhibit. Similarly, the virtues that are contained in a plant enables it to be used ’for good’ in medicine. When we refer to the Godly strength and knowledge that we possess we are referring to the virtues that enables us to choose right over wrong, good over evil, enabling us to live in victory.
As our goodness and virtue increases so does our ability to make decisive decisions, even in the face of severe injury and death. The greater our victories become the more valor we exhibit. Many civic organizations award a Medal of Valor for physical courage, and the Air Force Medal of Honor displays the single word “Valor”. When we pull away from virtue, we are drawn towards indecisiveness causing us to be weak and unsure, not exhibiting the ability to make Godly decisions quickly, effectively and correctly. This was made evident by Adam and Eve’s decision to listen to Satan and eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We see the opposite to be true when Jesus faced Satan in the desert.
It’s one of God’s great promises that he’s given to believers: Everything that happens to us is working for our good—if we love God and are fitting into his plans. Romans 8:28 (NIV) “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If you’re a believer, the Bible says God works all things together for good—not that all things are good, but God is working all things together for good. In his commentary on Psalm 46, Charles Spurgeon wrote that “God is our refuge and strength, the omnipotence of Jehovah is pledged for the defense and support of his people. A very present help in trouble,”- one who is near at hand; always near, but nearest when he is most needed. God’s goodness draws closer to us than the storm could ever be.”
One thing we can know for sure, God is good — all the time! This is something we can believe in no matter what season of life we are walking through. The scriptures are full of language that points to the goodness of God and his faithfulness. Psalm 33:4-5 (NIV) says, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” To be good also refers to demonstrating a lack of self-centeredness. It means to have the ability to empathize with others, to feel compassion for them, and to put their needs before our own. For us to have God’s goodness in our lives is when we sacrifice our own well-being for the sake of others.
Father, no one has ever pursued me with such passion and love as you continually do in my life. My desire is to allow you to touch my heart each day, wooing me back into your presence and being overwhelmed by your goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
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