03/09/M – The Goodness of the Lord

Exodus 18:1-12; Matthew 22:34-46; Psalm 27:11-14; Proverbs 11:1-3

OT: “Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, along with Moses’s wife and sons, came to him in the wilderness where he was camped at the mountain of God. He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.” So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, bowed down, and then kissed him. They asked each other how they had been and went into the tent. Moses recounted to his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that confronted them on the way, and how the Lord rescued them. Jethro rejoiced over all the good things the Lord had done for Israel when he rescued them from the power of the Egyptians. “Blessed be the Lord,” Jethro exclaimed, “who rescued you from the power of Egypt and from the power of Pharaoh. He has rescued the people from under the power of Egypt! Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he did wonders when the Egyptians acted arrogantly against Israel.” Then Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’s father-in-law in God’s presence.” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭18:5-12‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

For some reason, I never noticed this before… but Moses’ testimony of the goodness and greatness of God convinced a pagan priest to proclaim his loyalty to the True and Living God. It was through Moses’s verbal declaration of God’s demonstrations that caused Jethro (the priest of Midian) to proclaim, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods” and offer a sacrifice of worship to the Lord. How many times would that occur in our lives if we actually declared the goodness and greatness of God to others? Do we even open our lives up to God’s great works through obeying Him in faith? God is good and He is great! We need to believe that, act on that, and declare and demonstrate that to others… and then we will see others declare, like Jethro, “Now I know that the Lord is greater!”

NT: “When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:34-40‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The Sadducees tried to trip up Jesus with a question around the resurrection from the dead, and that attempt failed. So the Pharisees tried to trip up Jesus with a question from the law – to see if He would single out one law to the exclusion of others. When they asked Him the question, His response didn’t even come from the law. Instead, he gives not one, but two commands that basically form the framework for all of the Judaic laws: 1) Love the Lord with your entire being, and 2) love others in the same way you love yourself. All other God-inspired laws hang on those two key commands – and the Pharisees had no argument against it. So, if we treat those 2 commands as primary, we also will fulfill the intention of all God’s laws. Love God completely and supremely, and in loving God completely, love people sacrificially and treat them fairly with honor and respect.

Psalms: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

It is one things to trust in the goodness of God and hope that you will one day experience His goodness in eternity. But hope deferred makes the heart sick, and it can be very discouraging to hope for something that you never see. Thankfully, God allows those who trust in Him to experience His goodness in the here and now. This is especially true on this side of the cross, resurrection, and ascension – for Jesus has given His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. And by the Holy Spirit, we don’t just experience the goodness of God – the Goodness of God abides in us and works through us to touch and impact the land of the living. So don’t be hasty to make things happen in your own time and in your own way. Trust in, surrender to, place your faith on the Lord and He will strengthen your heart and fill you with His goodness.

Proverbs: “When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭11:2-3‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Just as Jethro ascertained that what happened to Pharaoh and the Egyptians was because of their arrogance, arrogance inevitably brings disgrace. But when we humble ourselves, we are able to receive wisdom and guidance.

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