That’s the question. And it’s the question behind so many of our questions. We are tempted to believe the lie that God is not good because he hasn’t given me this or that or the other. God isn’t good because his kingdom doesn’t fit with my kingdom. Or he isn’t good because of these circumstances, or this suffering, or … fill in the blank.
Is God good? It’s the original question that sinks its fangs into us every time. It’s the question behind so many pastoral struggles and discipling issues. A failure to believe that God is good and good all the time is behind the unhappy marriage with it’s dreams of, or talk of, separation and divorce. It is at the root of envy of others, the nagging ‘if only’, the taking of something for ourselves even though our good God as an expression of his love says don’t. It’s why so many fall away tempted the promise of good in created things rather than in the fountain of that goodness in the God who is good.
It’s a question we face again and again in varied situations all day. Is God good? Is his word good? Is his call to me as his disciple to follow Jesus good? Is where he has put me good? What good is he working out here even if I can’t see it?
It is a trust in the goodness of God that enables the heroes of the faith to stand firm. Daniel throughout his time in Babylon faces temptations and pressures to conform to Babylonian culture, in what he eats in chapter 1, when on death row in chapter 2, when faced with Belshazzar in chapter 5, and when faced with the challenge of obeying the king or obeying God or being lion food in chapter 6. In every case Daniel resolves to live as a man of faith, that God is good. God is good in his word, his actions, his promises, and in the situations he has sovereignly placed Daniel in even though they are full of very real peril. God is good and so Daniel stands, he speaks, he continues to pray toward Jerusalem as an expression of his hope in the promises of his good God.
So how do we answer that question, is God good? We need to get a grip on the goodness of God. To allow the truth of God’s utter perfect goodness to transform us in our thinking and living and fighting sin and following Jesus. We need to help one another see again and again the goodness of God so that we see temptation and sin for what it is; a lie, or a twisting of what is good to perverse ends. We need to help one another find joy in the good things God showers on us everyday as expressions of his goodness, so that they point us to the inexhaustible fountain of all goodness that is our God and we find our joy in him.