Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
It is good to sing praises unto our God. He is worthy to recieve it. He inhabits our praises and He ambushes what we fear. Why don't I praise Him more often? It is good. He is worthy.
What is Good? - continued
After the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which Solomon built, Jeremiah, in the midst of his lamentations tells us what is good: "
hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth" (Lamentations 3:26-27). Why would he tell us "it is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" then? Almost 200 years prior to that destruction, Amos prophesies, "Woe to them
at ease in Zion," (Amos 6:1).
Proverbs 1:32 is translated thus in the Geneva Bible: "For ease slayeth the foolish, and the prosperity of fools destroyeth them." Ease causes the foolish or simple to be slain. Prosperity causes the destruction of fools. Proverbs 20:21 tells us, "An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed." Proverbs 30:8b-9 records a prayer: ". . . give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny
and say, Who
or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God
full, are we not tempted to deny the LORD?
Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 2:24: "
nothing better for a man,
he should eat and drink, and
he should make his soul good in his labour. This
also I saw, that it
from the hand of God." (See also Ecclesiastes 5:18). Finally,
Paul admonishes us, ". . . by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). One of love's most evident manifestations is service.
God has given us work to enjoy and to get our living from. A hard worker enjoys his work. One of the best things we can teach our children is to enjoy work and to bear the yoke in their youth. It is good.
The Good Path
In Proverbs 2:9 we read, "Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity;
every good path." Proverbs 2:20 continues, "That thou mayest walk
in the way of good
and keep the paths of the righteous." So there are good paths,
and there is a way of good men. Proverbs 19:8 says, "He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good." This verse is reinforcing Proverbs 2. The way to understand every good path (righteousness, judgment, equity), the way to walk in the path of good men is to get wisdom and to keep understanding. And Proverbs declares that it is given for these purposes.
The Lord spake through Jeremiah, the prophet, 400 years after the Proverbs were given: "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where
the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they
said, We will not walk
(Jeremiah 6:16). The good ways is found in the old
paths, i.e., the paths identified before Jeremiah's time. Do you see how God's people of Jeremiah's day refused to walk therein?
Years later, Jesus said and continues today to say, "Come unto me, all
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke
easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
In walking in the good way, on the old paths (paths that were old in Jeremiah's day) and in taking Jesus' yoke upon ourselves, we shall find rest for our souls. Today many Christians discount the paths in the Old and New Testaments and despise portions of the Scriptures saying it was addressed to that ancient culture. Let me suggest that we need to ask for the old paths and walk therein. Perhaps we would then make disciples of this nation (Matthew 28:19) and not be conformed to this age (culture) (Romans 12:2).
In addition, ". . .
It is a
to give thanks unto
the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:" (Psalm 92:1).
Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. The first Thanksgiving, which we remember, occurred in 1621 and was observed by the Pilgrims and their Indian friends. This followed in the same year after half their number had died. ("In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18)). It is the will of God that we should give thanks in everything.
It is dangerous to not give thanks: "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified
not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their
foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21). Being unthankful (or ungrateful) is the second step (after not glorifying God as God) in turning away from God.
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;" (Colossians 4:2). Thanksgiving is one of the means we can be watchful in prayer and continue in prayer. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6). Thankfulness is necessary to having the peace of God which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Psalm 133:1 declares, ". . . Behold, how good and pleasant
for brethren to dwell
together in unity!" It is good and pleasant for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity. In order to dwell together in unity, we must work at it with lowly and meek attitudes, suffering long with one another, patient with one another in love. The Apostle Paul tells us that we should endeavor to keep the unity in the body. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
To dwell in unity is not to dwell in uniformity. God has placed many members in the body. The Bible speaks of the manifold temptations we have (1 Peter 1:6), but also of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10). Manifold is a beautiful word, meaning of various colors, of various sorts. There are many colors of believers.
To dwell in unity we must possess what God has given us: "We have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16b). Paul prayed for the Roman church, "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind
one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5-6).
It is good for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity, and not just in the church, but in each family of the church.
Other Things That are Good
Proverbs 18:22 says,
findeth a wife findeth a good
favour of the LORD." A wife from the LORD is a good thing. Can I get a witness? Proverbs 31:12 says, "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." A wife from the LORD is a good thing.
The Lord Jesus tells a story, "His lord said unto him, Well done,
good and faithful
servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou unto the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21). The faithful servant is a good servant. Faithfulness is good.
The Apostle Paul tells us,
good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor
whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak" (Romans 14:21). It is good not to cause a brother or sister to stumble or offend them or make them weak. In other words, it is good to not cause trouble for your brother or sister.
Paul tells us the will of God is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). The Lord Jesus tells us that Mary of Bethany chose the good part which would not be taken from her. She had chosen to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His word (Luke 10:42, 39). Jesus told the rich young ruler ". . .
none good, but one, that is, . . . God . . ."
Finally, let us remember what the angels announce to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). In Jesus, God expresses His peace and His good will toward men. His good will is toward men and women and children, towards the children of Adam, and towards you and me.
Peace, good will to you.
When we are
(1599 ed.). Dallas, GA: Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved.
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