“How was your day? Good. Everything went well? Yep, things turned out great, nothing unexpected.” Sound familiar? We often view our life according to our present circumstances, however, what if your day didn’t turn out so good? What if there were unexpected turns, even disasters, that you encountered? Would you continue to call it good? Interestingly, creation, including mankind who would rebel, was called very good by God. He didn’t look at the present circumstances to determine goodness; He knew the big picture. He knew that eventually creation would return to good. That’s the idea of the ninth octave (vs. 65-72): good.
The Psalmist uses this word good, tov in Hebrew, six times and in various ways. Tov can mean beneficial, well, favorable, or right. He began by declaring that God showed him grace in his life as His Word promised and as he walked with Him. He desired to continue that walk yet remembered when things weren’t so good. This writer, like many of us, walked away from God for a time but returned only to recognize an important attribute of God:
You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. (Psalms 119:68 NLT)
Don’t we all have times in our lives when we made wrong choices and suffered the consequences? Out of fatherly love God allowed suffering and sometimes correction to enter into our good lives. Jacob’s son Joseph understood suffering (Gen. 37-50) but as he reflected on his brother’s betrayal he said this:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20 ESV)
Job also reflected on his suffering as he responded to his not-so-good wife:
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 ESV)
Our perspective on suffering often determines the depth of our walk with God. This Psalmist believes that the suffering he endured was beneficial to him. Can we agree with that and declare these promises in the midst of our suffering or discipline?
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8a ESV)
… no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11b ESV)
Let’s remember this week, as this section of Psalm 119 reminds us, that it is good when God teaches us, whether it’s through pain and suffering or simply His hand of correction. His thoughts about us are always good and His instruction more valuable and precious (vs. 72 the highest form of good) than silver or gold.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)