Is God Good Enough?

The Good Book

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The lie always begins with the question, “Is God good enough?”  That’s what Satan was tempting Eve with, questioning God’s goodness.

Genesis 3:1-4

The Temptation and Fall of Man

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

That’s what Satan tried to tempt Jesus with in the wilderness — to question Jesus’ authority and to question whether God, the Father, was a good God who would provide and rescue.

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” [If…]

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and, [If… again and this is implying a testing of God’s provision… “Will God really provide for your needs?”]

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’[b]

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

That’s what Satan does with us every day.  He tries to get us to question God’s goodness in the face of so much evil, sadness, suffering.

The enemy wants us to doubt God’s goodness — that He is good enough… to provide fully for us, to protect us from evil, to be with us in the midst of painful circumstances, to use everything for good, to not abandon us…

We often want our independence, but when the consequences come, we want to blame God for not rescuing us from the problems we ourselves have created.

The question is, “Who is holding onto the reins of your life — your past, present, and future?”  Is it really God?  Or is God on the “side-lines” of your life, the One to Whom you refer at times, to whom you turn only when you are desperate?

The real question is not whether God is good enough.  The question is in whom do we believe and on whom do we rely?  Ourselves?  Another?  Circumstances?

Perhaps we aren’t experiencing God’s goodness because we are living independently of it.

Perhaps, we are relying on our own “goodness” or the goodness of the rest of humanity to protect, direct, and influence us.

Maybe that’s why we sense that something is missing…

What About The Consequences?

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We all know God forgives, right?  BUT, what do we do about the consequences of our sin?

Why do we sometimes feel crushed beneath the circumstances/the consequences of our sin? 

As I was reading through The Names Of God book, I came to the chapter on Jehovah Makkeh.  This name means “the Lord Who molds me.”  It is also used in verses that reference God smiting or correcting someone or a nation of people.

In the Bible, Jesus calls Himself the Chief Cornerstone in the kingdom of God.  We are called the “lively stones” or living stones that help to form that building.  Jesus molds and shapes us according to His Word so that we will fit perfectly into our places within His body.

Correction is one of the tools God uses to mold and shape us from our sinful “bent” into His perfect image.

Psalm 51:17

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

If we are not willing to be “broken”, to surrender our wills to Him so that He can mold us into place, then we will be crushed.  By whom?  The devil and our circumstances.” — The Names Of God

God corrects, molds, chisels us, but He never crushes us.

Deuteronomy 8:5

You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.

There are several responses that should occur when we receive correction from the Lord.   Our attitudes and responses to correction will determine the outcome of our circumstances — whether they will crush us or whether we will triumph over them.

Victory over our sinful consequences/circumstances is achieved in the following ways:

  • Receive God’s correction.
  • Throw yourself on God’s mercy and power.
  • Overcome your circumstances to experience an astounding victory (in His power).  [Notes taken from The Names Of God.]

Godly correction will not hurt you!  It will be a soothing oil that might produce a miracle in  your life.  — The Names Of God

Lest the above quote be misunderstood, I believe what the author is saying is that Godly correction may “sting”, may cause pain temporarily, but it does not wound in a way that harms.

When experiencing correction, it’s very important to be aware of God’s voice/tone versus Satan’s. 

God corrects/convicts through His Word in order to lead us to repentance.  The repentance is not to crush us.  It is to cause us to lay aside our own independence and pride and to cause us to turn to God for His mercy.

The enemy’s voice/tone condemns, crushes, accuses, causes doubts, produces bitterness and fear, and causes us to question God’s goodness.

The enemy’s voice will always tempt us to believe a lie about God and in turn a lie about ourselves.

A proper view of ourselves is always wrapped up in a proper view of God.  Without a proper view of God, we won’t have a proper view of ourselves.

When we allow circumstances to upset us, we have missed the Smitten One who came to stand between us and our heart-break. — The Names Of God

In the Bible, we read the story of Amaziah.  He was a king who vacillated between following God, securing victories, becoming proud, receiving correction, and then repeating the cycle until he eventually destroyed himself.

2 Chronicles 25:1-16New King James Version (NKJV)

Amaziah Reigns in Judah

25 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart.

Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established for him, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king. However he did not execute their children, but did as it is written in the Law in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall die for his own sin.”[a]

The War Against Edom

Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, according to their fathers’ houses, throughout all Judah and Benjamin; and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them to be three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, who could handle spear and shield. He also hired one hundred thousand mighty men of valor from Israel for one hundred talents of silver. But a man of God came to him, saying, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the children of Ephraim. But if you go, be gone! Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy; for God has power to help and to overthrow.”

Then Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?”

And the man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.” 10 So Amaziah discharged the troops that had come to him from Ephraim, to go back home. Therefore their anger was greatly aroused against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.

11 Then Amaziah strengthened himself, and leading his people, he went to the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand of the people of Seir. 12 Also the children of Judah took captive ten thousand alive, brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were dashed in pieces.

13 But as for the soldiers of the army which Amaziah had discharged, so that they would not go with him to battle, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killed three thousand in them, and took much spoil.

14 Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. 15 Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?”

16 So it was, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?”

Then the prophet ceased, and said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.”

After great spiritual victories, we are often at some of our most vulnerable moments. 

It’s easy to fall into pride, following a spiritual victory, and to think that we can overpower anything — with or without God’s blessing/help.  We think because we are God’s child that whatever we demand will automatically be given to us.  We try to manipulate God with our will, and it never works…

…when we choose disobedience over obedience, we are essentially choosing death over life and bringing a curse upon our own lives. — The Names Of God

Even Jesus Himself never acted independently of the Father.  He was always in complete surrender/submission to the Father’s will.

Sin has its roots in independent action. — Kay Arthur

When God corrects us due to sinful/independent action on our parts, how do we respond?

When we experience God’s correction, do we receive the correction and throw ourselves upon the mercy of God — mercy that is unfailing and trustworthy?

Jeremiah 7:28

28 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.

When we experience painful circumstances, how do we respond?

Do we allow Jesus to enter into our difficult consequences and circumstances?  Or do we try to carry the burden on our own shoulders and therefore feel its crushing weight?

Trying to carry the circumstances and “muddy” through the consequences on our own is still sinful independence.  It is believing the lie that God is continuing to punish us, and so we have to “fix” this on our own.  It is still pride. 

Hebrews 12:11

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for your sins — once for all.  The record against you is covered in His blood.  Your debt is paid in full. 

As a Christian, you are still being “sanctified.”  This means, you are still living with a sinful body and soul.  This means there will be times that you and I will need “correction”.  When correction happens, let’s remember the following quote:

If we will accept the Lord’s chastening and allow Him to mold and shape us, we will fit well into the Body of Christ […into His plan for our lives.] — The Names Of God