“You are good and do good. Teach me Your statutes.” Psalm 119:68
If I had written this verse, it would have said: “You are good and do good. Now, be good to me and do me some good by [fill in the blank with whatever I think would be good for me at the moment.]” But of course, my definition of good tends to put me at the center of the universe, while the psalmist defines goodness by God.
I tend to think about God’s goodness in terms of how it is “good for me” or what “good” it can do for me. The psalmist teaches me that a true encounter with the goodness and goodnesses of God will compel me to live for the good of God and others. When I know God’s goodness, I’ll want Him to teach me His statutes so that I can learn to love God with all that I am and to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:36-40). This vertical living for the good of God and horizontal living for the good of others is what the cruciform life is all about.
And where will I encounter the goodness and goodnesses of God most intensely and intimately? In the Good News that is the gospel. And that Good News that the Good God loved and died for me compels me to love and live for Him and for others (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 John 4:19).