Thursday, 19 January 2012

The goodness of the LORD in the land of the living



Everything within me is declaring the faith of this verse of scripture today:  

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” 
(Psalm 27:13). 

Not just when Jesus returns, but today, now. A hope not only set on what is stored up for us in heaven (Col 1:5), our inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade but which is kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4) – but a hope that we will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

It is true, we are pilgrims here in this fallen world which continues to bear the curse of the Fall. We are aliens and strangers here on earth, longing for a better country, a heavenly one (Heb 11:13,16). We have our eyes fixed not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:18).

Yet I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Now hear me out. I have not suddenly embraced a health and wealth prosperity gospel, or dominionism. Being exposed over the summer to some Word Faith teaching filled my soul with horror at the way in which Almighty God is subjugated to the power of our words in this heresy.

No, my friend. Within the theology of the cross we can still see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, within suffering, within weakness, if we will have eyes of faith to see it. Spurgeon says of this verse: 

“David believed to see the goodness of the Lord, not only in the glory land yonder, but also in this land here below. He believed to see the goodness of the Lord, not merely when he emerged from the furnace, but also while he was in it. As a pilgrim and a stranger, he believed to see the goodness of the Lord during the days of his pilgrimage. He did not always see it, but he believed to see it; he believed in it, and anticipated it; and, by believing in it, he did actually come to see it with the eye of his mind, and to rejoice in it.”

And I have seen it! Christian friend, for so many years my walk with God was shrouded in continual despair. I walked with Him, but carried round a weight with me and was never free from my burden, the burden of sin. I would ask myself “is this it? Is this what the Christian life is – loving Him, wanting to follow after Him, but continually failing, continually tripping up, dwelling in a continual fog of sin, always repenting but never moving on? Is my only hope of seeing the goodness of the LORD in respect to the victory over sin when Jesus returns or when I die?”

Today, praise God, I can answer NO! My burden has gone! God has taken it away! I am free from it (even though sometimes I try to pick it up again)! I continue to battle against sin, daily I wrestle with it, I abhor it, I mourn over it, I seek to put it to death, I long, oh how I long for that day when I shall finally be free of it! But I no longer identify myself with it – for through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death! I can testify that in respect to the victory over sin, I have indeed seen the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 

The goodness of the LORD in the land of the living reveals itself in numerous ways, and not just in those precious times when we can enjoy the blessings of God upon us when things are going smoothly. Spurgeon said of David “He believed to see the goodness of the Lord, not merely when he emerged from the furnace, but also while he was in it”. And here is what is so amazing – in Psalm 18, David’s psalm of deliverance, he has prayed to God for help in his distress, and as the Lord comes to his aid “He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky” (Psalm 18:11). The Lord brings deliverance, His goodness, through the darkness!  My friend, even the darkness need not make us fear, for God is using it for His purposes of deliverance, He is in sovereign control using everything for His purposes to bring Glory to His Name! The goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

We worship the God of Hope, and this Hope applies as much to this world as to the one to come when the fullness of the Kingdom will be revealed in all of its wondrous Glory. No situation is without Hope or beyond the reach of the redemptive hands of our God. He will always bring Glory to His Name, whether that is through delivering us from a trial or giving us the strength to endure it, but always always always revealing more of Himself to us, fulfilling our longing to know more of Him, feeding us from the tree of life, causing us to overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

10 comments:

  1. Very true, and I could relate on so many levels. Thank you for this encouragement! xo

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    1. You're welcome, Petra, and God bless you!

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  2. How beautifully and wonderfully said Diana! Christ is our hope in every avenue we travel. If we lose sight of that, we become impoverished in our souls. To study the Word, pray each day and face the activities with Him beside us brings us hope in our daily life. I, too, have been exposed to the "health, wealth, name it and claim theology and it is empty of truth. It leads to despair and it is not unlike practicing magic or divination. I would rather relax in the shelter of God's sovereignty any day than to worry I might have said something that brings a curse on me. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. It is thoughtful and well said! Blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. You are absolutely right about the "name it and claim it" theology leading to despair - after listening to some of the teaching over the summer we could feel the fear rising even though we knew it was false teaching! I love how you said this: "I would rather relax in the shelter of God's sovereignty any day" - Amen, sister! God bless you.

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  3. "Within the theology of the cross we can still see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, within suffering, within weakness, if we will have eyes of faith to see it."

    I love what you say about how the "Lord brings deliverance, His goodness, through the darkness!" Psalm 139:12 talks about how the darkness is as light to Him. He sees in the dark!

    What you've written here are the blessed words of an overcomer.
    -E

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    1. Bless you, E. Knowing we serve a God who sees in the dark, and uses the dark for His own Good Purposes, knowing the darkness does not overcome the light, knowing that God is the great Separator Who separates the light from the darkness within us - what Hope this brings to my soul.

      Thank you for how you model those eyes of faith to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living within the theology of the cross.

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  4. "Within the theology of the cross we can still see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, within suffering, within weakness, if we will have eyes of faith to see it" Amen, Diana! Oh, how true! The power of sin is guilt and in Christ, the law of the spirit of life has set us free! You have captured and articulated so beautifully what it means to be truly victorious! Thank you my dear!

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    1. Thank you, my dear Christina - it is such a blessing to be able to share something of this journey together, and to be encouraged/exhorted by one another. God bless you, sister!

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  5. What a glorious promise! We can trust His goodness and His grace and His sovereign reign. He will show Himself faithful!

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    1. He will indeed, Lisa! Thanks for your comment :)

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