“The Great Goodness”
As one transported and in a state of spiritual rapture, Isaiah exclaims, “I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness towards the house of Israel which he hath bestowed on them, according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.”
If we thought only of the physical things we now enjoy in this world, we ought to lift our hearts to God our Savior and say, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” He gave us life, sustains us in health, and has given us a sound mind. It is God our Savior who daily furnishes our tables, clothes our bodies, and refreshes us with rest. It is the Lord God who has given us our families and keeps our families in domestic tranquility. Our heavenly Father fills our lives with friends, who are his friends. By his watchful care, we are protected from countless visible and unseen dangers. He gives his angels charge over us to keep us from danger. More numerous are his mercies than the stars of heaven. There is no section of our lives, no circumstance of our existence, no aspect of our daily experience upon which we can fix our eyes without seeing the great goodness of our God.
But when we lift our thoughts to his “great goodness toward the house of Israel,” our hearts are utterly incapable of expressing the praise we owe to the great goodness he has bestowed upon us. It is in the redemption of our souls that the great goodness of our God is most fully displayed. Redemption was the thing that ravished Isaiah’s heart and mind. O Spirit of God, cause the redemption of our souls by Christ Jesus, according to “the great goodness toward the house of Israel,” which has been bestowed upon us, to ravish our hearts! To discover the heights or to fathom the depths of the great goodness bestowed upon us in redemption exceeds the capacities of our hearts. Yet, it is this great goodness that we most need, and this great goodness that most effectually ministers to our souls.
What great goodness is revealed in the triune God purposing and planning the great work of redemption! The Eternal three-in-one God was not moved by anything except his own great goodness. No angel made the proposal, interceded, or advised. No man by his prayers or tears stirred pity in Jehovah’s heart. Before men or angels had existence, the purpose was fixed and the plan was formed by boundless love, unmoved, unasked, uncaused by anything except “the great goodness” of God toward his own.
It was “the great goodness (of God the Father) toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses,” that moved him to choose us, to write our names in the Lamb’s book of life, and make proposals of grace and redemption for us to his darling Son.
It was “the great goodness (of God the Son) toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses,” that moved him to stand forth as our Surety and assume total responsibility for our souls, agreeing to satisfy every stipulation of the covenant for us.
It was “the great goodness (of God the Spirit) toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses,” that moved him to become for us the Seal of the covenant, the Comforter, by whom all the things of Christ are conveyed to our souls.
Upon the whole covenant of grace, write these words in bold, capital letters, “the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses!” The everlasting love of our God bestowed upon us in Christ from eternity is totally free. It is selfless, completely disinterested love, having no reward in view but the pleasure of doing good. There was and is nothing in us to recompense the triune God for “the great goodness” toward us. We have nothing to give him but what we receive from him.
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